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Am I Living for Jesus or Just Myself?

Updated on July 9, 2011

A guy asked me whether I am living for Jesus or just myself. Whoa, hey, pal. Are ya looking for candidates for the Inquisition or something? Let's just take this all down a notch or two so we can discuss this without overly offending me. Let's change the question. Let's change it to... "Do I eat fish, or do I prefer to eat nothing?" In other words, let's do what Jesus would do and tell a parable.

There was a man named Moishe who liked to eat fish, but he did not like to eat meat. Almost all of the other people liked to eat meat, but not him. He only liked fish. One day his neighbor, Yitzchak, the kosher butcher, (if this was Jesus' story, most likely the characters would be Jewish) said, "Moishe, why don't you eat meat? All my other neighbors are in my butcher shop every day, but not you. Don't you think meat is good food?"

"I think meat is okay for other people, Yitzchak," said Moishe. "But I like fish. Fish makes me strong and healthy, and I am living a good life."

"But like ninety percent of everyone else likes meat," said Yitzchak, getting a little annoyed. "Why do you have to be an outsider?"

"That is okay for them, but not for me," replied Moishe. "Whereas I am on the outside of those who eat meat, I am on the inside with those who prefer fish."

"But how can you live without eating meat?" demanded Yitzchak, stamping his foot.

"One does not need to eat meat to live," shrugged Moishe. "One needs to eat food, but that food does not have to be meat."

Now, if Jesus was trying to make this point and not me, he would say something like, "As it is with the body, so it is with the spirit. Let no one tell you what is good for the body. Your Heavenly Father has seen to it that your body will tell you that. Let no one tell you what is good for the spirit, for likewise your Heavenly Father has assured that your spirit will tell you that. If God has seen to it that your body, that is temporary, knows what is good for it, how much more will he have seen to it that your spirit, that is eternal, knows as much?"

"But, Teacher," Thomas would probably say, upset and confused. (I never met a Jew named 'Thomas', actually.) "People eat the wrong foods all the time. They become obese, or their arteries get clogged with cholesterol, or they get diabetes."

"You of little faith!" Jesus might reply. "Let those with ears listen! Truly I say, those who arf down Big Macs, Whoppers, and super size fries will lay abed with tubes jammed up their noses. They see the fat hanging from their arms and belly and pretend it isn't there, and each footstep is a burden, yet they do not hear the message that their body is trying to tell them. When the spirit is fed on hate, spite, and judgment of others, so, also, each step becomes a burden, and life a barren trail through the empty wilderness."

Peter might then say, "Christ! Andrew says the Romans are coming."

To which Jesus might reply, "Okay, let us depart then unto Hebron, to the place they call Beth El, and there observe the Sabbath." And a great multitude followed them unto Beth El, etc.

Disclaimer

In the Jewish religion we would call this a Midrash, that is, a story based on the original religious text that tries to clarify a point that isn't really made clear therein. With a Midrash, you have to bear in mind that it was some rabbi who wrote it, not the original writer of the text. Please regard this one the same way. We all know Jesus didn't say any of this stuff and I'm not saying he did. Also I am a long way from anything resembling a rabbi.

Back in Jesus' time, it seems, they still felt the need to give God a gender, though what an eternal being with no need to reproduce might need with a gender, I don't know.

Okay, end of disclaimers.

Looking forward to your comments.

Comments

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    • Ivan the Terrible profile image

      Ivan the Terrible 

      9 years ago from Madrid

      Glad to meet you too, Tom!

    • Tom Rubenoff profile imageAUTHOR

      Tom Rubenoff 

      9 years ago from United States

      I've got nothing against religion, per se. Whatever gets you by, I say. Just leave me out of it. I'll find my own way.

      Actually, I wrote this hub in response to a request.

      Nice to meet you, Ivan!

    • Ivan the Terrible profile image

      Ivan the Terrible 

      9 years ago from Madrid

      I find I don't need to live for Jesus since he's dead. Fantastic legend apart that he came back to life, I simply don't buy it. I believe in me, and that's as far as my beliefs take me. It is up to me to live like a decent, caring human being, or not, and I chose not to close my eyes to the truth that there is nothing out there, no white-bearded god looking down from the clouds or keeping tabs of every mistake I make in my life.

      Imagine no religion, as John Lennon once said. I agree. I like your hub, and I imagine it's in reply to another with a similar title I just spotted on the hub pages.

    • Tom Rubenoff profile imageAUTHOR

      Tom Rubenoff 

      9 years ago from United States

      Parables are fun to write, like an allegory. You do look like someone who would definitely enjoy fish!

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 

      9 years ago from Ohio

      I liked the parable...and the meaning. Eat more fish!

    • Tom Rubenoff profile imageAUTHOR

      Tom Rubenoff 

      9 years ago from United States

      Wow, thank you BD. It is a very effective teaching method, isn't it?

    • BDazzler profile image

      BDazzler 

      9 years ago from Gulf Coast, USA

      Very, very good, and an excellent insight into the nature and method of Jesus' teaching style.

    • Tom Rubenoff profile imageAUTHOR

      Tom Rubenoff 

      9 years ago from United States

      Thank you, Fishskin!

      What do you mean, Einron? I'm right here! Thank you!

      I do like fish, Elena! Thank you!

    • Elena. profile image

      Elena. 

      9 years ago from Madrid

      How'd you know Jesus didn't say either of these things?!? HE! Clever, Tom, fishy and clever! Laugh!

    • einron profile image

      einron 

      9 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, CANADA

      Very cleverly written. It's hard to catch you.

    • fishskinfreak2008 profile image

      fishskinfreak2008 

      9 years ago from Fremont CA

      Very interesting story

    • Tom Rubenoff profile imageAUTHOR

      Tom Rubenoff 

      9 years ago from United States

      Enjoy!

    • ajcor profile image

      ajcor 

      9 years ago from NSW. Australia

      might take a crack at it - but i am a bit short of time this week - one son's engagement party last saturday and the coming saturday is my mother's birthday also- so a lot of cooking in store! cheers  

    • Tom Rubenoff profile imageAUTHOR

      Tom Rubenoff 

      9 years ago from United States

      Thank you, Ajcor! I think the request is still open if you'd like a crack at it. I actually started out writing an angry hub, but then I thought better - or worse - of it.

    • ajcor profile image

      ajcor 

      9 years ago from NSW. Australia

      I guess I would say to the guy who asked "whether I am living for Jesus or just myself."   - "to each their own" and I might also ask whether he had heard of the three very personal topics you don't just discuss willy nilly with anyone! I frankly am quite over people who feel they can just tramp in seeking whatever they are seeking at the expense of another's personal feelings or indeed privacy... great hub ...cheers

    • Tom Rubenoff profile imageAUTHOR

      Tom Rubenoff 

      9 years ago from United States

      Thank you, Foxility!

    • foxility profile image

      foxility 

      9 years ago

      Very nice hub.

    • Tom Rubenoff profile imageAUTHOR

      Tom Rubenoff 

      9 years ago from United States

      Thank you very much!

    • Gillsie profile image

      Gillsie 

      9 years ago from Oregon

      That was wonderful!

      If we can learn nothing else from the life of Jesus, we should at least follow his example of how to properly address a touchy subject. : )

    • Tom Rubenoff profile imageAUTHOR

      Tom Rubenoff 

      9 years ago from United States

      Thank YOU, Tom.

    • Tom Cornett profile image

      Tom Cornett 

      9 years ago from Ohio

      Fishy, but many smiles! Thanks!

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