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Thursday, January 13, 2022

13Jan

Luke 3:15-17, 21-22

The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Messiah. John answered them all, "I baptize you with water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire." . . . .

When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased." Luke 3:15-17, 21-22 (NIV)

After several readings and contemplating several days on this scripture, I finally gained insight on what this personally meant to me.

In the scripture, the people were anxious as they were awaiting a Messiah, and they thought John may be the one.  When he was asked, he responded no, and that one who was more powerful would come.

At this time, the people greatly respected and closely followed John.  Because of this, he had the opportunity to propagate this attention and be the center of their admiration.  However, he did not promote their worshiping and fall into the evil of self-idolization.  Instead, he directed them towards Jesus, saying that he was only baptizing them with water, but Jesus would baptize them with the Holy Spirit and fire.  And this baptism would not be a symbol like John’s baptism, but a welcoming to God’s love and mercy.

In today’s society filled with social media and advertising swaying us on what products and services we need or which can make us more popular, smarter, healthy or youthful – we can also fall into the evil of “it’s all about me” or self-idolization.  But this is not what God wants us to do, and not what John did as outlined in the scripture.  Instead, we need to act as John did, and put ourselves aside, and think about others.  We can do this by serving the community and others in the many Southwood ministries and programs.

Questions for Reflection:

  • Consider, do you ever self-idolize?  Do you sometimes act as “it’s all about me?
  • If you answered yes, become aware of when you self-idolize, and what triggers that attitude or behavior. Is it a feeling of entitlement, the need to be accepted, or jealousy?
  • Pay close attention to those times when you place yourself over others with a “it’s all about me” or a self-idolize attitude.  When you do, regroup and realign, and take a different viewpoint, away from you and towards others.
  • Develop an ongoing attitude of always caring more for others, and placing yourself second - as God would have it.

Prayer

We thank you, almighty Lord, for all the blessings and gifts that you have given each of us.  Keep us grounded in our humility and let us constantly think of others first, before ourselves.  We pray that through this self-awareness, we can find, develop, and share our gifts to the glory of God and the service and benefits of others. We ask that we prosper with strong faith toward you and with fervent love among us all, through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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Posted by Mike Jagadich

Mike Jagadich and his wife, Nancy have been Southwood members since 1991. That year, Mike relocated to Lincoln from Bloomington, Il with State Farm Insurance. For more than 35 years, Mike has been Facility and Operations Manager for State Farm, and will retire in November 2021. Nancy retired from LPS in June 2021. The have three boys; AJ and his wife Beth in Omaha; Drew (Southwood Youth Director) and his wife Beth and their child Theo in Lincoln; and Bobby and his significant-other Anabella in Philadelphia.

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