As I was reading a familiar passage of Scripture today, I was struck anew by a thought: when Jesus called His first four disciples, they immediately gave up everything that they had and followed Him. Peter, James and John left behind their fishing business and jobs and just followed. They didn’t question Jesus, they didn’t plan how they would make a living or pay the bills; they simply followed. If Jesus were to appear on the scene today, come to your place of work and tell you to follow Him, would you? Would I?
It’s so easy to read through these Bible stories without pausing to reflect on what they are really saying. “Wow, the disciples left everything and followed Him. How cool were they? They were such spiritual giants. Next.” Let the story sink in; apply it to yourself. Honestly, ask yourself, if Jesus told me to give up everything, to leave it right then and there, would I? This call to follow Christ is not for the faint of heart. There’s no promise of monetary success or fame. In fact, to the contrary, Jesus tells us straight up that we will probably not have as much as a place to sleep at night and that we’ll face hostility and persecution. Cool. This is exactly why I’d want to give up my current lifestyle. Well, okay, not so much really.
Yet, this was the call to the first disciples and it remains the call of Christ to each of us today. Will we give up everything? Will we risk alienating our friends and family? Will we endure embarrassment and persecution? Would we even (gulp) be willing to die? All this simply because He said to follow Him; How much do you love Him? Can we honestly say that we would do for Him what He did for us? Or is it more comfortable to just thank Him for what he did and then snuggle down in our warm beds to catch a good night’s sleep? What are you willing to give up? If it’s less than everything then that is simply not good enough. Christ demands it all. We call Him Lord yet refuse to honor Him as such. Do you trust Him to care for your needs, trust Him enough to spit in the face of logic by giving up all that we possess? Do you trust Him with your life to the degree that you are willing to lay it down?
It’s easy to give a lip service answer to these questions. Of course we love Him; of course we trust Him. Why of course we’d die for Him! But would we? What would your neighborhood, your city and your state look like if all the Christians returned to the New Testament model for the church and we sold everything we had so we could care for the needs of those who had less than we do? I’m not talking Socialism here; Jesus never advocated any political system. But I am talking about love, something Jesus was adamant about providing. Would we be willing to give up everything? Are we willing to follow Him to dangerous places so we can demonstrate and apply His love? If Jesus were to start all over today, would you be one of His first disciples? Until you are willing to give up everything – everything and everyone – then that answer would have to be ‘no’. Let us repent of our lack of belief and beg that God would give us the strength to follow Him at any cost.