Summary: What do we have to do if we want to be more than average in our Christian Walk

What Do I have to Do? – Gospels

During the four years that I was in Bible College I had several opportunities to have Dr. Bill Burbury as my Professor, and in some of his classes Dr. Burbury offered what he called “Mark by Contract.” When you went to your first class Dr. Burbury would give you a list of requirements for the course. If you wanted to pass the course then you did certain things and you would be guaranteed to make a certain mark. And if all you wanted to do was to pass the course then you could plan your semester from there and at the end of the semester you would have a “D”.

You would have passed the course, just. Of course that only worked if you were planning on graduating with a degree than that was pretty much worthless because in order for your course to count toward ordination you were required to have at least a “C”.

So if you wanted to do more then simply pass the class then you started adding more requirements. If you wanted a C then you did all that was required of you to get a D and you added some more work and if you did all those things then you got a C. If you were even more industrious then you could add to the C requirements and get a B and add to the B requirements and get an A.

You understand the concept of “Mark by Contract” now? And so during the first week of each term ever student was able to choose the mark which they wanted to earn.

Most of those students choose an A or a B, however by term end many had only done the work required for a D or a C. Interestingly enough most students marks didn’t change, there wasn’t a dramatic change in mark percentages.

The A students continued to be A students, the B students B students. Etc, etc. Nothing really dramatic happened. In the vast majority of cases nobody took the opportunity to move up to the next level. I will confess that I remained a B student. My mark really didn’t change, I did enough work to get the mark I had always gotten and that was it.

Dr. Burbury once confronted me as my faculty advisor and asked me why I was content with a B or a 3.0 average when I was capable of A of 4.0 work. You know I thought about if for a minute or so and then I answered saying “You know Dr. Burbury, “As” and “4s” are sharp and harsh while “Bs” and “3s” are soft and rounded.” Bill just shook his head. Which meant my strategy had worked, if you can't dazzle them then baffle them.

You see often what we achieve in life is determined not nearly as much by our smarts as it is by as it is by our dedication and devotion.

Whatever the advantages or disadvantages of the contract method of marking were the main thing is you always knew what was expected of you. When you started the class you could ask “What do I have to do to pass this course or ace this course?” and you would receive an answer.

We are all born with a desire to be at one with our Creator, our God and we try throughout our lives to come to the place that we are supposed to be at.

And while we may never actually verbalize the question in our hearts we are all asking the same question that was asked of Jesus in Mark 10:17 As Jesus was starting out on his way to Jerusalem, a man came running up to him, knelt down, and asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

He was asking: How do I get to heaven? What do I have to do to get a passing grade?

Well, we’ve made it through the Old Testament and here we are in the New Testament. Over the past six weeks I’ve had the opportunity to guide you through the Pentateuch, the Historical Books and the books of Poetry and Wisdom.

While I was away on vacation Stefan preached on the story of Daniel from the Major Prophets and then Deborah preached on Jonah from the Minor Prophets. And so here we are, in the New Testament.

This week we are looking at the first four books of the New Testament, books which most folks refer to as the Gospels. The Gospels contain four books, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. And the authors are named, traditionally it has been held that Mark was recording Peter’s account of the life of Christ. The scholars tell us that these books were written between 50 and 70 AD with the earliest account being the Gospel of Mark.

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