Friday, January 19, 2007
To Leave and Follow
OK, so it's no great mystery to most Christians that we're to strive to be more Christ like as each day passes. But this week I've been reading the accounts of Jesus meeting who would become His disciples. Although I'm familiar with the story of how it all came about, something jumped out at me this time through. I sat amazed at what took place when these grown men, engaged in the task of performing their everyday jobs encountered this man Jesus. And when they did, it radically changed their lives. Keep in mind that these weren't vagabond men wandering the streets looking for someone to help them or give them a reason to live. They were laborers, working men going throughout their day like men in modern times do.
Several accounts state that when they were confronted by Jesus, they "left everything and followed Him". Amazing really, when you really stop to think about what that meant for them. Of course Jesus was the epitome of unconventional; speaking to the people while standing in a boat on the water was, I would assume, out of the ordinary. But what was it about Jesus that compelled these grown men to lay down their everything and follow Him? That's what I want to discover. I truly believe that it wasn't Jesus' relevance to them or His familiar character traits that commanded their complete attention. I actually thoroughly believe that it was just the opposite.
We live in a day where the modern church is spending millions of dollars and countless hours a week to create "safe environments" and "worldly comforts" to the unchurched. Programs to fit every need, always using extreme caution to never offend or hurt anyones feelings. I believe that we, "the church", actually have it all wrong. A church that doesn't challenge anyone to drop everything and follow Him isn't really a church at all to me. A church that doesn't "get out in the boat" and radically challenge religion as we know it, is nothing more than another support group, at best. I believe with all that's within me that if Jesus were to again walk the earth as He did two thousand years ago, He'd shake all that we know and believe about reaching out to this world. In fact, I'd go as far as to say that many churches would not even be graced with His presence when He passed through town.
Just as He did then, He is still speaking words and emitting power that demands we drop everything and follow hard after Him. Throw out the mentality that you need to just be like everyone else so that you can get a foot in the door with them, so to speak. Stand up! Stand out! Live a life that will cause people to take notice of you and maybe, just maybe, they'll drop their "nets" and all that they know to follow the Jesus that lives inside of you.