Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Day 3: Why Not Follow Jesus

Day 3
Theme: Why Not Follow Jesus
Passage: Luke 18:18-25

18 A certain ruler asked him, "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" 19"Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good—except God alone. 20You know the commandments: 'Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.'[b]" 21"All these I have kept since I was a boy," he said. 22When Jesus heard this, he said to him, "You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." 23When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was a man of great wealth. 24Jesus looked at him and said, "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! 25Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."

Who was that man? This is another moment where we don’t have all the details. We don’t have a name. We don’t know his profession. We know nothing about him. This is a really sad moment. He could have been the Bono of his day. The Tom Cruise. But again we don’t know. Why? His position meant nothing on an eternal perspective. His wealth paled in comparison to the GLORY of Heaven. He became a blip on history when all he probably ever wanted was to make his name known in History.

So here a Rich man is coming to Jesus. In our church we would be happy to see a ‘Big Tither’. Yet Jesus once again shows he wants our hearts and nothing else.

There are so many times that we fall into this spot in our lives. There just seems to be something that keeps us from fully trusting God, from fully following Him.

Listen to these words from Mandy Lail, a staff member with Back2Back Ministries in Mexico. She addresses this very topic of being afraid to give it all.

I love the complexity of God. I may have charged into the city of Monterrey with great passion for changing the lives of orphans but I keep seeing God doing His work on me as well! Right now it’s grammar lessons.

I am always fascinated with the word love. We love to be “in love”, to feel loved, even feel love for another but that’s just one sense of the word. I am fascinated at our preoccupation with love as a noun. It’s this wonderful, sometimes elusive thing we are constantly seeking. But what about when love is a verb? What about when it’s all about our actions and not our feelings? What about when loving someone hurts? But we do it anyways but God calls us to love. While I am sure He would be pleased if it felt good to us I believe He calls us to action with love. He wants us to pour it out on others and pour it out and pour it out and our it out. Regardless of how it feels.

God has called me to a complexity of love. Parenting is love. It about actions for sure but often we can carry those out because we FEEL so much love for our children. We fall in love with them often early & fast and that fuels our ability to love in action. We serve & sacrifice because we feel love for them. We tolerate a complete loss of control of our personal time, TV choices, dining choices, even sleeping arrangements in order to love/serve/parent our kiddos. It’s hard but our feelings for them keep us going.

So this I am experiencing this new level of love with my foster sons. I do feel love for them for sure but it’s not the same. We haven’t bonded the same as my little ones. They aren’t always wiling and open to be loved unlike my little ones. They come with other family attachments that can make it hard for them to figure out where we, their house parents, fit for them emotionally. So it’s this new level of love for me. I get a lot less back emotionally from my sons. So I have to dig deeper into Jesus and into that sense of unconditional love … action love. Sometimes I don’t want to love them like they are mine. I want to guard my heart. They can be hurtful at times. I could lose one of them at any moment (should they decide to leave the program etc.) It’s so hard to love them with as much of me as I can when it doesn’t feel the same. It doesn’t always come back to me. This is where I am learning to lean in more to Jesus for His strength to LOVE (verb) them the best I can.

Now we are fostering a toddler son as well. And I find this grammar lesson digging to new depths. Again I want to guard my heart. I don’t want to “fall in love” with him, to bond too deeply because I can only imagine how much it will hurt when he leaves. But he needs it. He needs my love in action. So I am learning to lean in, to press harder into Jesus for the strength I need to love. Learning how to rely on Jesus to give me what I need to love this boy like he is mine, to love with all I’ve got…because that’s what God wants for Him. That’s a way God will show himself to this sweet boy. And for me it’s a hard but important grammar lesson. Isn’t God a God of action? Doesn’t His immense love for us play out with His son dying on a cross? If that isn’t love in action, I don’t know what is.

If Jesus were to ask you today to follow Him… how would you respond?

So what is it that is keeping you from fully trusting God today?

What are you holding on to?

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