March 17, 2014

Matthew 5:29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.

It is St. Patrick’s Day. Do you know the story of St. Patrick? He wasn’t Irish, at least not by birth. He grew up on the west coast of England and was taken to Ireland as a slave by raiders that were pillaging the seaboard. He brought his Christian faith with him and passed it on as best he could but when he found the opportunity to escape to the European mainland he took it. Then after a few years he voluntarily returned to Ireland as a missionary spreading the faith throughout the island. He probably never did drive any snakes out but he did change the course of history. His spiritual descendants took the faith to Scotland and beyond and played a key role in the conversion of Viking conquers. The immediate context of Jesus’ teaching above concerns lust and adultery but it could apply to any part of life. Patrick and his spiritual offspring became convinced that following Jesus was worth the loss of any temporal pleasure or earthly wholeness. To be separated from God and his will for their lives was hell and they would cut off and gouge out anything that put them at risk of living outside the love of Christ. Yes, it is pretty extreme but it is why he and they are remembered hundreds of years later. What gets in the way of you being totally sold out to God? Is it really worth it? 

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