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WORD FROM THE CENTER: MONDAY, JUNE 29, 2020

Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections on His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s verses are Matthew 10:34-39, where Jesus says,

Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36 And a person's enemies will be those of his own household. 37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

JESUS – THE KINGPIN OF ENDURING LIFE!


This is one of those passages in the Bible which confuses people. We tend to think that because Jesus came to bring peace, joy, love and eternal life to this world, He must do it the way we think He should. And if we don’t like how He’s doing things, then He must change and not us. Isn’t that the attitude that always gets us in trouble with God in the first place? I think it is. That’s why Jesus’ language in this lesson troubles us. Jesus’ language seems harsh in this passage until you realize that He is making a vital, fundamental point. Your relationship with God is the key to all of your life, not just part of your life. When we fail to realize that God is the source, the resource, and the power for our very lives, we fail to understand the ineptitude, even the danger, of trying to replace Him with anything in this world. There’s no relationship, no achievement, no innate ability, no status, and no stature that can take His place in our life without such a “substitution” causing us to lose the very life that was God’s alone to give and ours alone to receive and share. The Bible’s unique proclamation is that your relationship with God is fundamental to your life, both now and forever. And Jesus is the key to your relationship with God. In and through Him alone do we have life to receive and share with others. He’s the “kingpin” upon which all of your life (and mine) turns.

What is a kingpin? “Originally with the 'turntable' steering of horse-drawn wagons, this was a single pin on which the moveable axle was pivoted beneath the wagon's frame.”[1] Later, on the “horse-less carriage” call the automobile, the kingpin mechanism became the key to steering and controlling the direction of the car safely. Without the kingpin, you weren’t going anywhere without looming, mortal danger. It was so important to a car that early producers of automobiles made sure that it was safe, stable, and enduring. Such attention to quality actually irritated Henry Ford years after creating the Model T. He was mad because the kingpin outlived the rest of the parts in his cars! It is said that Ford commissioned a survey of the car scrapyards of America to find out if there were parts of the Model T Ford which never failed. “His inspectors came back with reports of almost every kind of failure: axles, brakes, pistons – all were liable to go wrong. But they drew attention to one notable exception, the kingpins of the scrapped cars invariably had years of life left in them. With ruthless logic Ford concluded that the kingpins on the Model T were too good for their job and ordered that in the future they should be made to an inferior specification.”[2]

It's a bit odd that Ford lowered the quality of the Kingpin to the disintegrating reality of the rest of the parts of the automobile, rather than raising the quality of the other parts to that of the Kingpin! Maybe that’s the way it is in a decaying, dying, and transient world which yearns for things that are newer and better, yet never enduring. Thank God that when He sent the true “KINGpin” for life, His Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus brought us His divine standard of righteousness, love, and mercy as a gift of grace.

People often ask me, “What gives you the right to think that your religion is better, or more truthful than all others?” It’s a good question if you believe that religion is something that humans “do” to earn something from God, or something that humans “make up” to give their life meaning. If that’s what you think Christianity is, I understand why you would ask that question. But you need to understand that the Bible’s message is uniquely about God’s gift to the world. It’s about His gift of eternal salvation more than about our “religious” response. When you understand that God’s gift of life in the person and work of Jesus is something none of us has earned or deserved, then you realize that this offer of grace, fully dependent on the uniqueness of Jesus, is either true for all or false for all. Here in this text, Jesus reminds us that He is the “KINGpin” of enduring life. There is nothing else and no one else in the world like Him for you.

PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, we want so desperately to be in control of our lives. Give us wisdom to understand that when we look to You in repentance and faith, real life begins, and it’s a life that never ends. AMEN.

 

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kingpin_%28automotive_part%29

[2] ^ Humphrey, Nicholas K. (1976), "The Social Function of Intellect" (PDF), in Bateson, P. P. G.; Hinde, Robert A. (eds.), Growing points in ethology: based on a conference sponsored by St. John's College and King's College, Cambridge, Cambridge UP, p. 303, ISBN 9780521290869, OCLC 2562833, reproduced in Humphrey, N. 1983. Consciousness regained: chapters in the development of mind. Oxford Univ. Press.

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