There Was Only One Word in the Telegram – “Others”

There Was Only One Word in the Telegram – “Others” April 10, 2018

The Holy Spirit touches the hearts of people who commit their lives to Him wholly; who follow Jesus simply because He said, “Follow Me”; and who do whatever He asks them to do. It is as simple as that.

We see the same response from the disciples Jesus called . . . .

These men dropped everything they were doing and followed Jesus. I imagine that Zebedee, James and John’s father, watched in consternation as his sons got up from their nets and followed Jesus. Perhaps he called after them. Perhaps he thought they had lost their senses. . . .

Jesus still issues that call [to come and follow Him] to those who claim to be His followers.

There Was Only One Word in the Telegram - "Others" - KP Yohannan - Gospel for Asia

Peter states, “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps” (1 Peter 2:21). Jesus told His disciples, “A new command I give you: Love one another. . . . All men will know that you are my disciples if you love one another” (John 13:34–35).

When we read straight through the four Gospels, we can see clearly how Jesus lived His life. It is summed up in this statement: “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28).

“My purpose is not for Myself,” Jesus was saying, “so that everyone can gather around and take good care of Me. No, I have come as the poorest of the poor. I have come to suffer and die for others.”

I remember a story I heard once about William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army. At the time he was an old, weak man. He was expected to speak at a huge convention, but because of his physical condition he was unable at the last minute to go. Instead he sent a telegram.

Thousands gathered at the convention, eager to hear this great man of God speak. That night, at the appointed moment, someone came to the platform with the sealed telegram and explained that General Booth was unable to be there, but that he had sent a message to be read. As he opened the seal, the crowd grew hushed in expectancy.

There was only one word in the telegram: “Others.”

What was Booth saying to them? “Remember, while you hold this great convention and enjoy the food, fellowship and laughter—remember, my message is still unchanged: Others.”

If we are followers of Jesus, if we are to hear the call of God, this mindset must govern all of our thinking. We must, like Jesus, be others-centered.

Learning from His Life—and Death

Jesus did not train His disciples in a classroom; He taught them through example. He lived His life before them and then willingly laid it down. No wonder that, after the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit, they remembered Jesus’ words . . . . And every one of them laid down his life . . . .

At one time I thought John was the only disciple who was not martyred. Later I learned that he was beheaded. Another disciple, Thomas, journeyed to India in AD 52, where he preached and laid down his life for Jesus. One of the seven churches he planted is located about three miles from where I was born and reared.

Doesn’t it seem strange that these men who walked and lived with Jesus for three years, men who saw miracles almost beyond belief and who must have had great faith, were not supernaturally translated to heaven, but died criminals’ deaths? How could they have traveled to places and done things they knew would put their very lives at risk?

Because Jesus was their example. Jesus was never the kind of Master who told them, “Do what I say, don’t do what I do.” No, He said, “Come, follow Me.”

Jesus also said, “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father” (John 14:12). . .

When we read about Jesus’ life and are challenged to follow in His footsteps, we feel overwhelmed. I can’t help it, we rationalize. I’m only a human being. Jesus is God. How can I expect to keep up with Him? And we excuse ourselves from total commitment.

Then we come to Paul. It is not easy to write Paul off because he was just as human as we are. “I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature,” he wrote in Romans 7:18. He considered himself an earthen vessel, a jar of clay (see 2 Corinthians 4:7).

Paul recognized that in his own strength he started from zero. He confessed his weaknesses and inadequacies continually. This is a man who argued with Barnabas, his co-worker. Acts 15:39 tells us that “they had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company.” But for this normal human being named Paul, following Jesus was not a nine-to-five job, nor did it have a finishing point. This was everyday life for him. . . .

There was no dichotomy in Paul’s life or in the lives of the early believers. Their lives were not compartmentalized into “spiritual” and “secular” activities. Their whole existence was a solid commitment, a life given for the Lord and His kingdom.

We Know Too Much

Unfortunately most modern-day Christians seem satisfied with only knowing what these New Testament believers did. We neglect to follow the example they provide.

The curse on our lives as modern Christians is that we have carefully divided the spiritual from the secular parts of our lives. On certain days we feel holy and wonderful. Our emotions are elevated and we feel ready to face any trial that may come. . . . On other days, back on the job and in the world, we say to ourselves, How can I do all that for the Lord? I’m doing the best I can. . . .

They lived for Another Kingdom - KP Yohannan - Gospel for Asia

The reason these [New Testament] believers lived was not to sew tents, teach school or construct buildings. These activities were simply their means of making a living. But their lives did not stop when no one bought tents anymore, when they retired or when they were too exhausted to lay another brick. While these believers lived on earth, their occupations were temporal, insignificant compared to what they saw as their primary responsibility. They lived for another kingdom.

Excerpted from Living in the Light of Eternity by KP Yohannan. Copyright © 2014 by KP Yohannan. (Carrollton, TX: GFA Books).


Click here, to read more articles on Patheos by Dr. KP Yohannan Metropolitan.

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