Reading: John 12:24-28
Jesus says we have to be willing to “hate” our lives for Him. He is talking about giving up the things we love. He is talking about sacrifice. He wants us to love Him and to love others more than ourselves.
Jesus did not just sacrifice when He died on the cross. He sacrificed every day when He taught, visited, encouraged, prayed for, and forgave others. We can do those things too.
If we want to follow Christ, we will have to let our selfishness “die” by giving to others. But Jesus said He has some gifts for us too:
- we will “bear much fruit” – good things will happen because of our good works, we will feel good about ourselves, and we will be an example to others;
- we will have eternal life in Heaven;
- He will live with us;
- the Father will honor us.
Think about these things the next time you are asked to put someone else’s needs before your own. Giving may seem hard, but in the end it will be a great blessing for you and them.
“…remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” (Acts 20:3)
The following is an excerpt from the story “The Wonderful Pocket.” This tale can be found in the book, The Wonderful Pocket and Other Stories which was written in 1869 by Chauncey Giles. Now out of print, the book can be read freely online.
THE WONDERFUL POCKET
One cold Christmas Eve, Charles Lee was sitting by the fire, looking earnestly at the coals as they burned cheerfully in the grate, sometimes sending out great volumes of smoke, and then bursting into flame, and lighting up the little room in which he was sitting, and making its naked walls look quite ruddy and cheerful. But none of its pleasant light entered Charles’ mind. He looked gloomy and sullen, and occasionally muttered something to himself as if he were angry at everybody.
His mother was sitting near him, busily engaged in finishing a piece of work. Mr. Lee had been dead a year. He was sick a long time before his death, and the little money he had been able to save while he was well, had been spent during his sickness, and his wife and children were left without a penny.
Mrs. Lee was very industrious and economical; but she found it very difficult to support herself and children by her own labour. The most that she could do was to procure the bare necessaries of life.
Charles went out every day, and got all the little jobs he could find to do. He would run on errands, and carry light bundles, and do anything else in his power to earn a few coppers for his mother. Sometimes he succeeded very well, and what he earned was quite a help to her.
But that day, when of all others he wanted to earn the most, he did not get anything. Everybody was so busy in selecting and buying presents for children and friends, and in making preparations for Christmas, that no notice was taken of him. Almost every one he met had packages full of pretty things for Presents….Charles stopped before the window of a toyshop, and gazed long and wistfully at the many cunning and pretty things that had been placed there to attract the attention of the people as they passed by, and he could hardly keep from crying at the thought that he could not have one of them.…
Charles was a very good boy in the main, but he was sometimes selfish and envious. The contrast between his own condition and that of many others had a particularly unhappy effect upon him to-day. He thought it was wrong that he could not have beautiful presents, as well as other children. He went home in a very bad humour. He was cross to his sister, and pushed her away when she came near, though he was generally very fond of her, and took great pleasure in playing with her, and often spent the evening in telling her what he had seen and done during the day; but tonight he was so much under the influence of bitter feelings, that he could not bear to have her near him. He knew that his mother did everything she could to get good food and comfortable clothing for him, but he seemed to forget it all, and said very petulantly that he did not see why he could not have nice toys and handsome clothes as well as other children; and he thought it was too bad that he could have nothing for his supper but dry bread.
His mother tried to soothe him as well as she could, but she did not succeed very well. He was too much excited to listen to what she said. After a while he got up and went to bed, but he could not sleep; angry feelings kept rising in his heart. He thought it was not right that he must work so hard and live so poor, and have no beautiful things, when a great many boys whom he knew dressed well, and, when they were not going to school, had nothing to do: they seemed to be so happy, walking and driving along the streets. He envied them, especially at this time, when almost every one had a holiday, and many presents from parents and friends.
After a while he began to think what he would do if he were rich. He would have ever so many fine clothes, the greatest abundance of beautiful toys, and as many good things to eat and drink as he wanted. He would not work another day. He would live in a large house, and have elegant furniture. He would get a pair of the handsomest horses in the country, and live in grand style.
He lay with his eyes shut while he was imagining these vain things. But he became so excited by his wild thoughts that his fanciful picture seemed almost to be real. He opened his eyes, expecting to find himself in his grand house, with everything beautiful around him. But he was still in the old chamber, and all his visions had fled.
He saw something else, however, which interested him more than his foolish waking dreams. A woman of wonderful beauty stood before him. She looked a little like his mother, and a little like his sister; but she was far more beautiful than any one he had ever seen before. Her face shone with a light that made the whole room bright.
One would naturally suppose that Charles would have been frightened at the appearance of such a splendid woman in his little chamber, coming, as she seemed to, out of the darkness. But he was not. There was something so kind and innocent in her face and manner, that he did not feel in the least afraid. Besides, the thought immediately flashed upon him that she had come to help him.
“And so you want to be rich, do you, Charles?” she said, addressing him in a very sweet voice, and in the kindest manner.
“Oh! yes,” he replied with great eagerness; ” I should like to be rich above all things. Will you give me a whole bagful of gold, so that I can buy everything I want, and not have to work any more?”
“No, Charles,” she replied, “I cannot give you any money, nor can I tell you how to get it. But I can give you something a great deal better. I can give you a pocket, in which to keep your money when you do get some.”
“Is that all?” said Charles, in a disappointed tone. “I have a pocket now, that will hold more than I can get to put into it. A pocket won’t do me any good.”
“But the pocket that I will give you is a very wonderful one…”
“What is there that is so wonderful about it?” said Charles.
“Everything you put into it will always remain there, though you take it out ever so often; that is one of the wonderful things about it,” she replied.
“What?” said Charles, whose curiosity now began to be greatly aroused. “If I had a whole handful of gold in this pocket, and if I should take it out and spend it, would the gold still remain in the pocket?”
“Yes, indeed it would; and the more you spent the more you would have.”
“That would be a wonderful pocket truly,” said Charles, “and worth more than the richest presents in the world. But I don’t see how it can be that the gold would remain in after it had been taken out.”
“No, I know you do not. But still it is true, and there are a great many other things about the pocket as wonderful as this.”
“What are they?” inquired Charles, his curiosity now thoroughly aroused.
“One remarkable thing is, that you can only put the money into it which you have obtained by doing good to others. If you attempt to put anything into it you have gained from selfish motives, the pocket will disappear. Another wonderful quality is, that you cannot get anything out of it to spend foolishly, or for any purpose that will not be useful to yourself or to some one else. If you attempt to do so, it will become invisible.”
Charles did not think that these qualities added anything to the value of the pocket. But the possibility of having a pocket which would never be empty was a possession too valuable to be rejected, and he begged her to give it to him.
“You shall have such a pocket,” she said. “But remember, you will not be able to see it until you get something to put into it; and neither you nor any one else can see it, except when you take something out or put something into it. You will find it on the inside of your coat, and of every coat you wear, and I hope you will have it well filled before another year. And now I bid you good-night, and wish you a very ‘ merry Christmas.'” So saying, she vanished out of his sight.
Charles felt so happy that he could hardly keep from getting up and dancing. He looked at his coat that was lying on a chair near him, to see if the beautiful lady did anything to it and he was about jumping up to see if he could find the pocket, when he recollected that it would be invisible until he had put something into it. He longed for the morning to come, that he might go out and earn something to put into it. He lay a long time thinking over the many beautiful things he would buy, and how he would astonish all the boys by pulling out whole handfuls of gold; but finally he fell asleep.
He woke early in the morning, and jumped up without being called; and, before putting on his coat, he looked at it very carefully to see if he could not find some signs of his new and wonderful pocket. When he found he could not, he felt a little disappointed; for although he remembered what had been said to him, yet he thought he might, perhaps, see some signs of it. But his old coat looked just as usual. He put it on, and did some things for his mother very cheerfully; thinking all the time how soon he would show her something that would make her very glad. He would come home with a whole handful of gold, and would bring so many nice things besides for his mother and sister, that they would be astonished….
In a little while he went away, promising to come back soon, and show them what he could do. As he went along, he was all the time thinking about what splendid things he would soon have. A fine carriage and horses passed him. “Ah!” he thought, “I will have a finer carriage than that, and more splendid horses. The harness and the carriage shall be all covered with gold!” And so, whenever he saw anything handsome, he would say to himself, “I will have something better than that….”
He kept thinking of his pocket, and longing to get some money to put into it, that he might see it. For he thought, if he could only make a beginning, that would be all that was necessary to get any amount of money he wanted; for what he put in would always remain there, though he should take it out ever so often.
After a while he saw a man going along with a load of coal, and he followed him, hoping to get a chance to put the coal into the cellar, and by that means earn something to put into his pocket. To his great joy, the man who had bought the coals agreed to give him something for putting them in.
He went to work as hard as he could; and, when he caught up a large piece of coal, he would think, “I will have lumps of gold as big as that some day!”
When he had finished putting the coals in, the gentleman gave him some pence. “There,” he thought, as he took the money, “that is the last load of coal I will ever put into the cellar: I will soon have somebody to do it for me!” And he ran off into an alley to put his coppers into his wonderful pocket….As soon as he found a place where he thought no one would see him, he unbuttoned his coat, and thought, ” Now for the pocket!”
He looked carefully, first on one side, and then on the other, but he could see no signs of it. He became very much excited; and he began to be afraid that it was all a dream, and that he would never have such a pocket. He took off his coat, and looked all over it, inside and out; but he could find no pocket except the old one that had always been there.
When he had looked over his coat again and again, examining every seam carefully, and could not find the pocket, he began to cry, he was so disappointed. He could never get any of the fine things he had been dreaming about. He looked at the coppers he held in his hand, and thought he would throw them away, he despised them so. What was a penny to one who expected to have a handful of gold?…
He forgot that he could never find it, to put anything in it, unless he had obtained the money by doing something that was not selfish —while all the morning he had been trying to get something to put into his pocket for the sake of finding it, and his little foolish heart had been filled with pride at the idea of the great show he would make. That was the reason he could not find it….
As he was going round a corner of the street, he found an old apple-woman in great distress. Some bad boys had overturned her apple-stand, and were trying to pick up the apples and run off with them. He jumped around as fast as he could, and helped the woman to pick up her apples. He did not once think about his pocket, or any pay for helping her. He pitied the poor woman, and only thought of helping her.
“There,” he said, when the apples were all picked up and placed upon the stand again, “the boys did not get many of them; and I do not think they will come back again.”
The woman offered him an apple for helping her; but as she had lost some, and was very poor, he would not take one, though it made his mouth water to think of eating one. He thanked her, and told her he would not take any.
As he was going away, a shopkeeper on the opposite side of the street, and who had seen the whole performance, called to him; and Charles went into the shop.
After asking his name, and telling him he was glad to see a little boy act so unselfishly, he gave him a shilling, and told him he hoped he would always remember to help the unfortunate.
Charles thanked him, and felt very happy, not so much for the money, as at the thought that he had done some good to a poor woman, and gained the approbation of a good man. As he turned to go out of the shop, he thought he noticed something bright on his coat, as though there was a light within shining through it. He unbuttoned his coat; and there, on the inside of it, he saw a cunning little pocket, just large enough to slip in his shilling! How his heart danced for joy! It was no dream, after all! He really had the wonderful pocket! He slipped the coin in, and it shone like burnished gold, and seemed to make him warm all over. Then he saw why he could not find his pocket in the morning. It was because he was selfish. He was thinking of himself, and not of doing good to any one else.
” Now,” he thought, ” I shall always have a shilling at least; for the beautiful lady told me, whatever I put in my pocket would always remain there, however often I took it out.” But, strange to say, he forgot the other wonderful quality of his pocket; namely, that it would be invisible, and he could find it only when he wanted his money for some unselfish purpose. But he very soon discovered his mistake.
He came to a toy-shop, and he thought he would buy some toys. But when he came to look for his money, he could not find it: pocket and it had both disappeared! Now he felt worse than ever. He wished he had put the money into his old pocket; then he could have had it when he wanted it. But now he did not know that he should ever see it again. He did not think that his pocket was much of a gift after all. What was money good for, if you could not spend it when you wanted it? He determined that he would not think any more about it.
As he was going home, quite disappointed and sad that none of the bright anticipations of the morning had been realized, he passed by a grocer’s shop; and as he saw a great many nice things to eat there, he thought of his mother and little sister, and wished he had his shilling to buy them something to eat. Strange to say, he never once thought of himself, but only of his mother, who worked very hard, and his little sister, who could not go to school because her clothes were not good enough, and who had but very few nice things such as many little girls have; and the tears started in his eyes at the thought that he could not do anything for them.
At that moment he happened to look at his coat, and saw it shining again! And, sure enough, there was his shilling! He took it out; and, after he got it in his hand, he saw there was still another in his pocket! Then he was perfectly delighted. He went into the shop, and bought some tea for his mother; and when he had paid for it, he thought she would want some sugar; and, when he looked into his pocket, there was another shilling ready for him! So he bought some sugar. He kept thinking of one thing after another that he knew his mother needed very much, until he spent twelve shillings. Whenever he took out a shilling there was always one remaining.
When he had bought all the things for his mother that she needed at that time, he saw some candy; and he thought, “Now I will buy something for myself.” But, when he looked for the shilling, it was nowhere to be found. It had gone, pocket and all! He looked around, expecting to see the sugar and tea and other things disappear; but they did not; and he took them up, and carried them home. He was somewhat disappointed at not getting the candy; but, when he thought how much pleasure so many nice things would give his mother, he felt quite happy.
His mother was very much surprised when he handed her the things he had bought for her, and she questioned him very closely as to the manner in which he had obtained them. He told her he would tell her all about it after supper. So they had a nice cup of tea, and some candles to give them light; and they enjoyed the supper very much.
After the things were all cleared away from the supper, Charles told his mother all about his wonderful pocket, and how he had obtained it. To prove that he had told the truth, he was going to show it to her; but of course he could not find it. His mother seemed to understand about it, however; and she was very glad to know that her son had been presented with such a wonderful gift.
There was no happier family that night in the whole city. Charles could hardly contain himself for joy…After a while, he went to bed. When he pulled off his coat, he folded it up carefully, and laid it on a chair. He never had so much respect for it before. “What if somebody should come and steal it?” he thought. “But if they should, it would do them no good; for they could never find the pocket. There are some good things about its being invisible. Besides, it would be no great loss to me; for the pocket is to be on the inside of every coat I get.” So he let it lie upon the chair, and got into bed.
When it was all dark in the room, he would open his eyes to see if there was not something bright about his coat; but he saw nothing. Foolish boy!—he did not know that the pocket was not in his coat after all, but merely appeared there. He was quite startled, in a little while after, by something which seemed to show that his pocket was in his side or breast; for while he was thinking of the old apple-woman, and feeling glad that he had a chance to help her, and rejoicing that he could make his mother and sister happy, he felt something warm about his heart, and a light seemed to shine through the bed-clothes, and almost to make the room light—but he did not suppose it could be his pocket; and after a while he dropped to sleep.
When he awoke in the morning, the first thing he did, he looked to see if his old precious coat was where he put it. He found it was safe, and it did not appear as if there was anything very wonderful about it. He could not help examining it very sharply, when he put it on, to see if he could not discover some signs of his pocket. “It was very strange,” he thought, “that it could come and go so quickly!” and he really wished it would remain where he could see it all the time.
He knew it would do no good to get money just for the sake of putting it into his pocket; for then it would remain invisible. So he wandered round all day to find some chance to do good, that he might get his pocket filled; but he did not succeed, and he began to think it was going to be more difficult to get money in this way than he at first supposed. If he offered to work for nothing, that would be of no use to him; if he worked merely to get money to put it into his pocket, that would not help him in the least; and he found it almost impossible to work without thinking of his pocket. He went home at night very much disappointed; he had not earned a penny all day; and he did not see how he could ever get anything more into his pocket, or out of it.
So he spent a whole week. He did not even help his mother as much as before; for he almost always earned something every day, but now he did not get a penny. He could not bear to work all day for a few coppers, when it would be so easy to put his hand into his pocket, and take out shilling after shilling. Why couldn’t the lady have given him a pocket that would always keep in sight, and open, so that he could take out just as much money as he pleased, and just as often?
Foolish Charlie!—he did not know that the qualities of his pocket which he did not like were the most valuable of all, and absolutely necessary to prevent it from spoiling him; and even now it came very near doing it by making him an idle and useless boy; for instead of going to work as he ought to have done, and trying to make himself useful, he was all the time trying to devise some way to get something into or out of his pocket.
One day he went to the shop where he had bought so many things for his mother the week before, and asked for some more tea and sugar for her. He did this to see if his pocket would not appear again. If it did, he thought he would take out as many shillings as he could hold in his hand, and then slip them back again; and, after that, he could take out a whole handful at once. So he called for a quarter of a pound of tea; and, when it was weighed out for him, he expected to find his pocket; but it did not appear; and he was obliged to tell the grocer, when he asked for his pay, that he thought he had some money in his pocket, but he believed he must have lost it. So he was obliged to go away without his tea, or without finding his wonderful, but very troublesome, pocket.
What do you think was the reason that his pocket did not appear to him as it did before? It was because his first thought was about himself. That was really why he asked for the things, and not because he cared so much about his mother. If he had cared more for her than for himself, he would have gone to work, and earned what he could; and would have been glad to help her a little, if he could not any more.
He now began to give up all idea of ever seeing his wonderful pocket again. All his bright visions of unbounded wealth faded away, and he wished he had never known anything about it. His old coat was getting to be all rags, and he must have another. After a while his mother found a place for him in a warehouse, where he could make himself useful, and earn a little every week. He commenced work with a heavy heart. How could he work for a few shillings a week, when he had expected to have all the money he wanted by just putting his hand into his pocket?
But every day he became more interested in his duties; and, in time, he seemed to forget that he ever had such a thing as a wonderful pocket. He was faithful in doing his work, and every Saturday night he carried home his week’s earnings to his mother. She had bought him a new coat; and though they were very poor, yet they succeeded in making a comfortable living. Charles’ mother felt very sad sometimes because she could not send her children to school, and give them more comforts and privileges; but she saw no way of doing it; for, even with their assistance, she had to work very hard; and sometimes, when she was weary, she felt very much discouraged.
After he had been in his situation some months, Charles was sent by his employer to the river to carry a small package to the steamboat. As he was going on board he met a lady coming from the boat with two little children. The plank was so narrow that the mother and her children could not walk side by side. She tried to have the little girl, who was the oldest, go before; but she was so afraid she did not dare to do it. While she was trying to urge her along, the other one, a little boy about two years old, slipped from her hand, and fell into the river.
Charles saw that the child would be drawn under the boat in a minute, and be drowned. Without stopping to think of the consequences to himself, he plunged into the river after him, though he was a very poor swimmer. He seized the child, but soon found that he could do no more than keep himself and the child from sinking. The current was strong, and was fast sweeping them both under the boat.
The mother screamed, “Oh! my boy, my boy! — save him, save him!” Everybody shouted to everybody else to do the same thing; but no one did anything but shout, as is often the case at such times. Charles struggled to keep himself and the little child from going under the boat; but his strength was not great enough to swim with such a load against the current.
Just as he was disappearing, and every one thought they were both lost, Charles struck his hand against something which proved to be a rope floating in the water, and fastened to another boat which lay alongside. He grasped it with one hand, and clung to it with all his might, while he held the little boy in the other, and called aloud for help. A boat soon reached him; and he was taken out of the water, still holding to the little boy.
They were both almost drowned. Charles was so much exhausted that he could not stand for some time. The people on the boat gave him something to refresh him, and in a short time he was as well as ever.
Every one admired his courage and self-forgetfulness and presence of mind in saving the little child, and thought he ought to be rewarded for it. One gentleman proposed a subscription. This seemed to please them all; and they soon made up a handsome purse of money, and presented it to him.
The mother of the child could not thank him enough. She wished she was rich, that she might give him a suitable reward; but she was not. She gave him a sovereign, however. He told her he did not wish to take it; but she begged him to do it, as a keepsake from her. So he took it, more for her sake than for his own.
He immediately began to feel very warm about his heart, and his face shone as if a light was reflected from it. He thought he would put the gold piece by itself, that he might keep it as she desired to have him. So he unbuttoned his coat to put it in a little side-pocket, when he saw that, although his coat was dripping with water, there was a little place in the breast that shone as bright as a star!
There was his wonderful pocket, which he had forgotten all about; and in it he saw the old shilling, which had caused him so much happiness and sorrow, as bright as ever! He slipped in his gold sovereign as a companion to it, knowing it would be safe there. It made him very happy to know that he was still in the possession of such a wonderful gift; but this did not make him so happy as it did to see the little boy he had saved, and the perfect joy of the mother at receiving him again from a watery grave.
The praises he received for his courage and presence of mind did not make him so happy as the thought that he had done an unselfish act. He did not care so much about his pocket as he had done before, though he knew there was much more in it. He knew, too, that he could not get anything out of it unless it was for something useful, and he was afraid he might be disappointed as he had so often been before.
When he went home at night he told his mother all about his adventure. He gave her the purse, which was found to contain twenty pounds; and he seemed to think much more of it than he did of his pocket and its contents. Now, he thought, his sister could go to school, and his mother would not have to work so hard, for a time at least.
He went back to his work the next day as usual. After some months he began to think more than ever before, that he would like to go to school. He saw that he could never know much unless he studied; and he could never become a merchant, and carry on business for himself, unless he knew how to read and write, and make calculations in figures; and consequently he could not be so useful to his mother and to others.
But how could he go to school? His mother needed his wages; indeed she could not live without them. Strange to say, he did not think of his pocket; and he came to the conclusion that he should be compelled to work a while longer before he could be spared to go to school.
He kept thinking about it as he was going home from the store; and he was quite happy, though he did not see any way of doing just what he wanted to do. He felt so warm and comfortable, though it was quite cold, that he unbuttoned his coat, and threw it back to cool himself. To his great surprise, his pocket appeared again! Yes, sure enough, there it was, bright as the fire, with his sovereigns and shilling shining through it!
“Now,” he thought, ” I will take out enough to support us while I go to school, and learn to read and write, and get some education, that I may be more useful to mother and every one else.” So he kept taking out sovereign after sovereign, until he had quite a handful.
He gave it all to his mother, and told her, with many joyful exclamations, and praises of his pocket, and thanks to the good angel who had given it to him, how he obtained so much money, and what he intended to do with it.
He was now able to go to school; and the next week he commenced. It was very hard work for him at first to study; but it came easier by degrees; and, what is strange, it seemed as though his pocket sometimes helped him very much. When he studied to get his lessons merely because his teacher told him, or for the sake of excelling others, or any other selfish reason, he found it very difficult to understand or to remember them; but when he studied because he wanted to learn something for the sake of being useful, it was easy, and every thought seemed to go into his pocket; and, when he wanted it, it would come out of itself, or lie there so bright and distinct that he had no difficulty in finding it.
It would take too long to tell all that he did —how often he was disappointed when he wanted money the most; how strangely he forgot, sometimes for a great while, that he had such a pocket; and how often it appeared to him when he least expected it. He soon learned that he could never find it, or get anything from, it, merely to gratify himself. Of course, all his golden and foolish dreams about having countless sums of money merely for display vanished; but whenever he thought of others first, and himself last, his pocket always came to his aid. So he always had as much money as he could make a good use of. If it had not become invisible when he wished to make a foolish use of his money, he would have been ruined. He never would have gone to school, or tried to make himself useful in any way; but he would have fallen into idle and vicious habits; have been miserable himself, and the cause of great unhappiness to others.
Now you may think that this story has no foundation in truth. But, if you do, you will be mistaken. In reality, we all have such pockets in our minds, if we have not in our coats. And if we cannot put material gold and silver into them, we can put something that is much more valuable. We can put love and truth into them; and all that we put in will remain there. The more we love others, the more love there is in our hearts; and the more we give our knowledge and truth to others, the more fully we retain it. If we give a truth to others a thousand times a day, we still retain it.
But real love to others can only be put into our hearts while we are loving them, and trying to do them good. When we think of ourselves and work for ourselves, this real love never appears. But when we love to do to others as we would have them to do to us, the truths in our minds shine in a clear light, and the Lord and the angels give us far more than we can give to others. In this way our minds are continually enlarging, and we are growing richer all the time; while those who love themselves more than others, are really growing poorer, though they may have the greatest abundance of material gold and silver. There is nothing in their pockets that they can carry into another life.
The Lord has given to every one of us such a pocket. Every time we love others, we put into it the gold and silver which the Lord counsels us to get from Him. We put good affections and true thoughts into our minds, and they make us rich indeed. They will be “treasures laid up in heaven,” which no power can destroy.
Especially will all we learn from the Bible remain in our memories, if we love it, and try to live according to it; and even in this world it will be more valuable to us than it would be if every letter was a gold sovereign. And when we go into the heavenly world, it will shine and glow and fill our whole life with warmth and light, and multiply in many beautiful forms for ever.
For Further Study:
- See verse 27 and 28. Jesus would have liked to be saved from the terrible death that awaited Him. But He gave up that salvation so that He could provide salvation for men. Jesus did not give in to His troubled soul. Instead, He asked that His Father be glorified. We can see in verse 28 that this pleased His Father. God said that His name has already been glorified, because of everything Jesus had already done, including obeying His Father. And God said His name would be glorified in the future. Can you think of when God’s name was glorified after Jesus’ death? See Luke 24:50-53; Acts 2:46-47 and 4:31 (there are many times in the book of Acts when the Christians praised God). When our souls are troubled, it’s natural to want the pain to end quickly. But remember that even in hard times, our God can be glorified. Read John 14:13; 1 Peter 3:14-16; and 1 Peter 4:11 to see how.
- Is there some difficult responsibility you have? How can you glorify God while you’re trying to get it done? Is there something that worries you or makes you sad? How can God be glorified while you’re struggling with it? Is there someone you’re having trouble getting along with? How can you God receive glory through you with that person?