READ: Ecclesiastes 4, Luke 23, Revelation 15


Jesus continually does things that defy comfortable definition. His teaching does not soothe but stirs up the general population (Luke 23:5). His person separates and divides families, yet unites violent Pilate and wicked Herod (v. 12). The wonders of incarnate God lavished on a tiny geographical area over a concentrated three-year span do not bring harmony between earth and heaven in the short term, but rather they bring the cry “Away with Him!” (v. 18). In effect humanity cries, “Away with God!” No wonder God’s anger bubbles over and there are bowls full of His wrath ready to be poured out (Rev. 15:7).

When Jesus came to earth, sent to fulfill the Father’s mission, He did so with a yielded spirit. He came to appease the wrath of God, and the only way to please the Father was to disappoint just about everyone else. When a person yields to God, he or she cannot live to please anyone else, including self. Three times in Luke 23 Jesus is urged to save Himself (vv. 35, 37, 39), but He couldn’t. Jesus couldn’t save Himself and still save us. He couldn’t yield up His spirit and remain in control at the same time. Surrender of our spirit is an all or nothing proposition. There is no negotiation of terms.

Jesus committed His Spirit to the Father and then died (v. 46). We are sent in the same way the Eternal Father sent the Divine Son. We are sent with the assumption that we will yield our spirit. We are sent with the understanding that we cannot save others and save ourselves. A non-yielded spirit seeks to participate in the salvation of others without losing self. We agree to work in the fields of God as long as we don’t lose our identity, the respect of our peers, and fair treatment by our elders and leaders. We agree to labor in the harvest, but only if we are defended by a union of other laborers who protect our rights, privileges, and guaranteed bonuses. Missionaries tend to commit themselves to the task with attending conditions: We will go to the ends of the earth to preach the gospel as long as it is a malaria-free zone, there is a school for our kids, we have a supportive team around us, we like our leadership, and there is opportunity for our gifts to be used and recognized. Missionaries never admit it–even to themselves–but many of us are trying to desperately save ourselves and others. And we can’t.

In order to be useful to God, we must have a yielded spirit. A yielded spirit has no conditions. A yielded spirit realizes it cannot save itself if it is going to participate in saving others. A yielded spirit commits himself or herself to a loving Father, and then dies, daily.

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