Hold on and don’t let go
There’s so much we don’t yet know about so much of our planet, and it seems new species are being found in remote parts of the world, or in the depths of the sea, from time to time. In a documentary I watched recently it was full on cuteness overload, as I awed at the baby panda bear with her ever so attentive mum. Brave elephants crossing vast regions to find water and food, taking the baby elephants on an epic journey. Red panda’s, which turns out are not really panda bears, but more like a raccoon. As they say, every day is a school day.
Then … enters the imposing snow leopard. Top of the food chain in that area, she was impressive, providing well for her two little snow leopard cubs. However, the snow leopard got injured and as a result lost her ability to chase prey usually on the menu. The snow leopard, having her cubs to feed, became distressed and desperate, so went after a Yak calf. But the mother of the calf was enraged at the attack, so defended the right to life for her little one, and went for the snow leopard with her horns. The snow leopard wouldn’t give up the calf for her cubs, and the Yak mama would not give up her calf for the leopard cubs. So,for a time there was a stand-off, between the two, the leopard held on with gritted teeth, but the Yak relentlessly intervened on behalf of her own.
In the end, the snow leopard had to let go, as she was constantly injured by the Yaks horns. The snow leopard retreated to the snow-covered rocks, but was, by this time, fatally wounded. It’s not what I expected at the end of the documentary, happy endings are so much better, to be honest, it’s what we are used to when we watch TV programmes. But actually, there was a happy ending for the Yak and her calf.
When we turn to the Bible, we know that there is a happy ending for those who are committed to God, through faith in Jesus. In Philippians 2.1-18, it speaks of the complete joy our commitment to Jesus brings, as He encourages us by His comfort through the love of God, with tenderness and compassion. As we become like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind, and in our relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.
To have the same mindset as Jesus, can be perhaps better understood when we consider the story we just heard. Jesus was not going to let go of the purpose and plan God had for Him, so that our joy could also be complete in Him (John 16.4). Jesus was found in appearance as a man (which is why we celebrate Christmas), and he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross (which is what we honour at Easter). That’s how focused Jesus was on sharing the compassion of God with us, so that we too could win the prize of heaven set before us.
Jesus was tenacious, holding fast to the prize before Him, which is eternity in heaven for those who put their faith in Him. When God sent Jesus to die on that cross, that was His intervention in your life, to save you from certain darkness and death. Only God could do this one act, that would save you and me, through His Son, as God intervened on behalf of His own.
Father, we have heard your will for us is to become like minded, having the same mindset as Christ Jesus, having the same love, being in one spirit with each other to know your comfort, joy and peace. Help us to see what you have given as Jesus held firm to give life to all who receive Him. In the Name of Jesus, amen.