Everyone loves the character Jaws from the James Bond movies. The giant, towering, silent brooding of Richard Kiel, complete with stainless steel jaws. He is the bad guy simply because he looks so threatening (okay, so he will bite your spinal cord in two, minor issue). But Richard started out in these types of roles much earlier, do you remember when? That’s right, Season 3, episode 24. The Twilight Zone. There is a fifth dimension, beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call the Twilight Zone. Rod Serling. Insert the eerie music here.
Season 3, episode 24, 1962, titled “How to Serve Man.” Richard Kiel plays a Kanamit, an alien race that has landed on Earth and said that they come in peace (where have we heard that line before?). Of course mankind is skeptical what with looking up a 9 foot people with enlarged foreheads who wear robes and are led by Jaws himself, wouldn’t you be. But the Kanamits go about demonstrating their good will. They solve world hunger, end the need for having nuclear weapons, turn deserts into lush usable land. How wonderful and they give us a copy of the book that guides them concerning us. Then they start offering trips to their home planet, described as a paradise, and people flock.
But there is a team of linguists, now out of work from cold war spying, who is busy trying to decipher the big book the Kanamits say is their guide. The team first breaks the title and it is “How to Serve Man”, wow, maybe these guys are on the level. They keep plugging away and it comes time for the team leader to get a free trip to the Kanamits home planet. Off he goes. Just as he is starting up the stairs of the spacecraft (one of those lovely really cheesy models which wobbles as it flies) his aid comes running up yelling at him. She is blocked by a gate guard but yells to him, “don’t get on the ship, it is a cookbook!” But alas, he is trapped and sent to his doom. End of the show; enter Rod Serling with his dry, philosophical end lines.
I told that story just because it was a really good episode of Twilight Zone and it does have application to today’s post, “How to Serve man.” Matthew, chapter 5 and Luke, chapter 6 contain a good recipe concerning how to serve man. And it comes from the Master Chef Himself, Jesus. I am not giving you an individual verse because it’s the verse in the context of the whole. I like Matthew, chapter 5, 6, and 7 because in them Jesus tells us how to live. Huh? But doesn’t modern man tell us that to live we acquire, we climb every higher making ourselves more important and gaining more to prove that fact? In a nutshell Jesus is telling us the opposite of what the world says. Jesus believes in us, in you and me, He believes we can handle the truth, Jesus speaks truth in truth language, and He speaks direct to our hearts and minds. But, big but here (BBB, I wonder if the Better Business Bureau would approve, at least I am not talking two t’s but), Jesus expects us to live the truth, to walk the truth, to handle the truth, to speak truth. He believes in us enough to tell us we can do it. Hey, you, I am talking to you!
What Jesus is telling us is to do what is right. There, I said it in English that time. Do not what we have to, but to do more than we have to, to give all for the others wellbeing. I have only heard the word “love” defined once in my life. It was in 1972 by Winkie Pratney, a Bible teacher, youth evangelist I spent a couple of weeks learning from. Winkie defined love as “choosing the other’s highest good.” Hearing love defined in those terms blew me away and still does. It motivates me, guides me, leads me, and love swirls through my heart. Look at Jesus and apply the word love as Winkie defined it to Jesus life. Yes, you have heard it and seen it when you have read about Jesus or studied about Him. But now you have a definition for your life. Choosing the other’s highest good, what clarity is found in that definition?
We all fall short of that and we all fail miserably daily. I do and I know you do. Yes, you may be a “good” person; you may be a “good” Christian. You may actually be living better than most Christian’s in your walk. But what I am pointing out is that our standard is higher. Our standard is to be like Jesus Himself, to walk in love as He walked in love. Oh, and our standard is to die like Jesus died. How and why did Jesus die? He died giving Himself for others; He gave Himself for you and for me. Are you willing to give yourself for others, am I?
I honestly don’t know the right term to use here to describe myself, a problem I have, a shortcoming, a failure, a lacking, hang-up, weirdness. I want things right, righteously. I seem to have endless conflict with the VA over how they deal with veterans, I am fixing to tangle with local city government over parks being right. At work I had many a conflict with fellow workers and management about things being right. The problem is in being right and wanting to be right, I was and am wrong. Do the specific issues matter, no, what are the expectations, what are the rules and laws that govern situations? Matthew, chapter 22, Mark, chapter 12, and Luke, chapter 20, contain an answer that is both clear but one that does not tell me what am I supposed to do. Jesus gives us answers and then waits for the answer to click in our feeble minds.
The answer is we are to love. We are commanded to love with Jesus love. We are commanded to love our neighbors, we are commanded to love our enemies, and we are commanded to love; period, end of story. Will you purpose this day, today, to love as Jesus loved, to love as we walk in this world and through this world, with family, friends, strangers and even enemies? Today someone else will do something terrible like Boston or a million of other evils. Will we love let the driving force of our lives? Will I; will you?