Pastor Ralph J. Mineo, St. Luke's Lutheran Church
Years ago, there was an Illinois football team coached by a man named Bob Zuppke. He was famous for the enthusiasm of his half-time pep talks. One afternoon, at an away game, when his team hit the locker room after the first half -- they were well behind in both points and enthusiasm. Zuppke began talking to them and the more he talked, the louder and more dramatic his voice became. The excitement was building! The players were ready to go! The coach pointed to a door at the far end of the locker room and said, "Now go out there and win this game!" Filled with emotion the players got off the bench, ran toward the door and charged through it. But it was the wrong door, and one by one they fell into a swimming pool!
It's one thing to be all charged up -- it 's quite another thing to be headed in the right direction. We are called to join the race of faith. We're called onto a journey that leads to eternal life. But we need more than enthusiasm, as important as that is. We need to have the mind, the attitude, of Jesus Christ!
For example, last things Jesus said as he was dying was: "Father forgive them for they know not what they do." The attitude of Christ is one of profound forgiveness.
There's an ancient story about a very cruel slave owner had just finished giving his Christian slave a terrible beating. In anger he said, "What can your Jesus do for you now?" The slave, battered and bleeding, answered, "He can give me the grace to forgive you!" Being able to forgive someone who has done you harm is TERRIBLY DIFFICULT. But doing it is the attitude of Christ. Being forgiving is having the mind of Christ. That's one of the Christian virtues.
There are many more, such as being sacrificial, trusting God, being humble, being servants, living a life of godly morality, seeking the lost, forgiving when it seems impossible to forgive, being generous, being determined to do God's will, putting the Kingdom of God first. The list is endless, and life-long.
We can, by the grace of God, attain the mind of Christ by putting these and other Christian virtues into practice. Think of is as getting dressed each day. Plan to wear godly virtues as you travel though your day. Eventually, we realize: living according to godly virtues, God's will, we realize that we're enjoying life to the fullest!