So today we had our first church service in our brand new sanctuary, and it is really nice. As I was sitting there taking it all in with a critical eye, checking out the new screen and projector, critiquing the sound mix, watching people as they looked around, etc our pastor began his sermon. And like most of his sermons he began with a funny anecdote. Besides the new digs, it seemed to be an ordinary Sunday service. But not long after that funny anecdote Ty dropped a bomb on me. He said, "You can look throughout all of the Gospels and there is one thing you'll never find, anywhere...Jesus never said 'accept me', he always said 'follow me'." If you want to hear it you can click here, it's the sermon dated Aug. 10th "Called by God to his ministry".
This might not seem like a total shocker to you but in that moment something hit me. Jesus didn't want us to 'accept' him into our hearts and go on living life as if nothing had really changed, he wanted us to 'follow' him. This means change. Look at the disciples who followed Jesus, they literally got up, left their boats, families, jobs, etc and walked with Jesus away from their old life and into their new one.
Jesus demanded change from those who followed him because he is Lord and frankly he can demand that sort of allegiance. And should we be surprised by this? No, but are we...yeah. We swear our allegiance to all kinds of stuff, our favorite sports teams, our jobs, our hobbies, our addictions, but rarely does a Christian swear their allegiance to Jesus unabashedly and wholeheartedly. We're really good at accepting Jesus, but we're not so great at following him.
We're like the rich young man who 'accepted' Jesus and then asked Jesus what is required of him to inherit eternal life. Jesus tells him sell everything you've got and come follow me. The young man, it says, went away sad for he was very rich.
What do we have to change to follow Jesus instead of just accepting him? This is certainly different for each person, but the question is the same for all of us. Check out Luke 17.7-10. We are servants and Jesus is Lord. We are here to serve him, not the other way around.
I felt today for the first time in a little while that God had something specifically to say to me and it's a tough thing to hear. That I've been accepting Jesus really well, but haven't been following him. So with that punch to the gut I get up, put one foot in front of the other and learn how to serve and learn how to follow. God is good and he most certainly deserves my allegiance.