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“Pursuing Butterflies!” Luke 22:24-30 Key verse(s) 24:“Also a dispute arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest.”


We live to benefit ourselves and not others. Are you offended by this statement? It certainly isn’t what the Bible teaches. The Bible teaches us to put others before ourselves, to strive to benefit others even if we have to go without. Conforming to the image of Jesus Christ in our lives allows us no room for self-interest. Can you even imagine the Savior putting Himself before His disciples or the many thousands who followed after Him looking for his healing hand and the comfort of His word? Self-interest was foreign to our Savior as it should be to us. Yet, when we look at our lives it is easy to see that, for the most part, what we do and how we do it is largely concerned with self and not others. Often times even when we strive to put others first, upon close examination our striving is nothing but that, a striving that on the surface looks good, but deep down it is nothing more than appearance and lacks the depth of sacrifice and denial that the Gospel requires.


The other day I walked into the kitchen and found all three of our dogs asleep on the same rug. Now, this is an unusual occurrence for our dogs. The two dachshunds, male and female, are highly competitive and will usually fight for every inch of space, whether that be sleeping, eating or playing. For this reason we have placed rugs and dogie beds around the house to give each dog its “own space” and, in the process, avoid the conflicts that often result from one dog invading the other’s. But what made this picture of canine harmony even more curious is that fact that both little dogs were curled up with their arch enemy and avowed tormentor Jetta, the big yellow labrador. Jetta prowls the house looking for some innocent and unsuspecting wiener dog to pounce upon, tease or, better yet, steal a bone or dogie treat from. She is canine enemy number one and both dogs endeavor to avoid her at all costs. Webley, the male dachshund, had made the dark depths of a bedroom closet his favorite retreat. Trina, the little female dachsy, slinks around the house in fear and trepidation nervously shaking in anticipation of the lab’s ambushes. But, here they were, all three dogs contentedly sleeping, keeping each other warm, oblivious to any danger one might pose to the other.


I quickly went and got the camera to record this rare event. After quietly creeping up on the threesome I crouched low to get a close-up shot. As I bent down I nudged a nearby chair and winced as it knocked against the rim of a table. Instantly three sets of eyelids opened and before I got the chance to even snap the shutter, I could see two angry little wiener dogs baring their teeth at the big old lab parked over them. In an instant the snugly scene was totally disrupted by snapping and growling dogs. For purposes of history the peaceful scene was not recorded. What caused these three arch-enemies to snuggle together in the first place. I mused. Were they temporarily robbed of their senses? Had there been an act of kindness on the part of the lab that coaxed the two wieners into cuddling? As I recovered from my stoop and set the camera down on the table, I discovered the reason for the temporary peace. A warm sunbeam was coming through the kitchen window, focused perfectly on that one dogie bed. Each dog had sought out the beam and plunked itself down. With each successive plunk more warmth was added to the heap. The dogs weren’t there to keep each other warm. No, they were there to rob as much warmth as they could from each other and take advantage of the situation for themselves. dogie peace? It has not as yet descended upon our happy home.


I remember reading a story some time back about a man who was chasing butterflies and had built a pretty large collection. He seemed a peaceful and gentle man to all as he traipsed about the hills and valleys surrounding his house collecting specimens. His neighbors all thought kindly of him and considered him a friend. Then one day he returned from a foray into the hills and announced to one of his neighbors that while pursuing a particularly rare specimen of butterfly he had heard a groan. When asked if he stopped to investigate, the collector stated he had not since he was pursuing the butterfly. The next day someone went to investigate and discovered the body of an old man who had fallen and broken his leg and without help had died. How like the collector we are, often giving the appearance of gentleness and caring while all the time we are really seeking our own self-interest. Conforming to the image of Jesus Christ in our lives precludes such behavior. Becoming Christ-like means putting off ourselves and taking on the burdens of others especially when our own self-interest is involved. Jesus is inviting us to look to Him for an understanding of what it means to sacrifice and give our all. Pray that we not be caught up in self-service when He calls us to serve others.

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