If you listen to Jesus as presented in Matthew’s Gospel, you might get the idea that Jesus expects us to give up everything in our lives to follow him.
He sounds nothing at all like much of what our culture communicates, whether the false idea that Jesus wants to give us all new cars or help us lose ten inches in ten days.
Increasingly, the Jesus shared in Matthew reveals a man with a love for God, for truth, and for people. His life showed it through prayers, teachings, healings, and interactions with the social outcasts of his time. His simple clothing, everyday friends, and respect for women, children, and the poor express the heart of the one who called himself Messiah.
Specifically, in one place in chapter eight, Jesus encounters a couple of people interested in following him. To the first, Jesus responds by basically telling him he has no job for him and in fact, was at that time a homeless man. To the second, Jesus told him to leave his family, possibly including an aged parent, if he wanted to follow him. Following Jesus was not about a job, home, or comfort. It was about giving up jobs and homes and accepting discomfort.
I like to say it this way–we must grow up to give up, and give up to go up. By that, I mean following Jesus requires growing up, a level of maturity often lacking or not discussed in modern churches. As we grow up, we see our need to give up our own lives in service to God and others. As we give up, living a life of service, God may choose to increase our influence. In his words, the greatest among you will be the servant of all.
Today, remember that Jesus is not excited about your new iPhone, who will get voted off your favorite reality TV show, or your score on the latest video game. He calls us to follow him, learning his teachings, living his principles, and changing the world in the process of being a servant. May God call more of us to abandon the comforts of this life to humbly walk in devotion to our Lord.
OTHER NOTES: As of today, you can more easily share this blog via the link holywritproject.com. It redirects here, but is much shorter than the current link.
Today also marks the one-year anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti that killed over 200,000 people. I was there two weeks after the quake and have never been the same. If you feel led to help, please pray for and give to my friends at Mission of Hope Haiti. You will not regret it.
Dillon Burroughs has written, co-written, or edited over 60 books, including the upcoming devotional work Thirst No More (October 2011). He served as an associate editor for The Apologetics Study Bible for Students and is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary. Find out more at DillonBurroughs.org.