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Chapel Talk, Immanuel High School, Mankato, Minn.–

Lessons From A Sports Saying

A volleyball team I saw had the saying “there is no I in team” printed on their warm-up shirts. What they meant by this was that selfishness is not part of being on a team. You shouldn’t keep track of individual statistics, and you should help out your teammate by covering for her when she leaves her spot to help out another teammate.

There Is No I In Jesus

I thought about this sports saying and decided that the same thing could be said about the relationship between sin and grace, and between me and my fellow man. There is no I in Jesus. Philippians chapter two tells us: “. . . Christ Jesus, who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death–even death on a cross!”

Jesus was totally selfless in His life. If Jesus would have been selfish, He never would have died on the cross, because there was nothing to be gained for Him. If He would have been selfish, He would have been like the disciples and fought about His place at the table, or His position in the heavenly kingdom. But Jesus was not this way. He washed the feet of the disciples; He innocently suffered death. He did this all because there is no I in Jesus.

God tells us to live our lives according to the way Jesus would have us go. So we also are to live selflessly and not selfishly. That passage in Philippians is preceded by these words: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.”

When we live a selfless life, Jesus’ light is shining through us, and people can tell that we are different. When we follow the commandment parts that tell us what we should do, in each case the reflection is of selflessness.

There Is An I In Sin

Paul tells us in Romans 7: “For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.” When we look at ourselves, all we see is our sin — as well we should because there is an I in sin.

Left to ourselves, that’s where it would end — dead to sin, no hope, and only despair. This despair is felt throughout the world. Everywhere Christ is not dwelling people can only feel the burden of sin. If this is where it ends, then our lives are empty. But —

There Is A U In Jesus

God in Eden recognized the sinfulness of man. Because of His selflessness, He sent Jesus, because there is a U in Jesus. Jesus was born for you. Jesus lived a perfect life for you. Jesus died for you. Jesus rose again for you. And finally, Jesus is preparing a place for you. This objective justification is one of our greatest comforts, especially when we are burdened with sin.

How can we hear that message of grace and not want to tell others about it? If what we said about Jesus’ selflessness is a model for our selflessness, then Jesus’ care for man should be a model for our care for our fellow man. The Sermon on the Mount is full of ways we can practice this service to others. Two summary passages come to mind: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” and “Love is the fulfilling of the law.” If all people kept this in mind, then all could live more peacefully.

There Is No U In Sin

One of the things that gets us into the biggest trouble is worrying about the sins of others. There is no U in sin. God didn’t write the law so we could walk around accusing other people of sin.

Jesus asked in the Sermon on the Mount: “Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?” God tells us that even looking around at the affairs of others is sinful. The explanation of the eighth commandment is clear. We should interpret all our neighbor’s actions in the best possible way.

If we keep these four things in mind, we will live more peaceably here on earth. But more importantly, if we believe in the promises these sayings reflect, then the gift of eternal life is ours, and we will always be with our brother Jesus in Paradise.

— Teacher Kevin Hulke