2015-07-17 - OK ... But First ...
In the past several weeks, and even earlier in prior devotions too, I have referred to three key words to our mission as Christians.
Let’s review those keys, just briefly:
Worship … You must recognize that God is greater than all of us
Repent … Because he is greater, his ways are also greater, so we decide to live life his way - not ours
Serve … Put that decision into action, committing our life to him
This is the Bible in three words. This is the gospel in three words. How will you respond to this mission? How will you respond to the gospel?
Most people would probably agree that there are three ways to respond: OK, OK but first let me fill in the blank, or no way. There is just one call, and it is the same for all of us. Come, follow me! It is our response to this request that matters, so let's look at how the responses play out.
First, let's look at an Old Testament prophet by the name of Elijah.
1 Kings 18:15-21 (NKJV)
In work if someone leaves a company, they generally try hard to leave on good terms, so that if they need to come back, perhaps they could. Elisha was hardcore. He burned the bridges behind him, to make sure he could never return. Then in case the bridge wasn’t enough, he flambéed all his work equipment.
OK so it was a beef-grilling throwdown, but two oxen butchered and used to feed his friends and family. He didn’t have a job to come back to. This is what it looks like, to be all in, but too often, we want to make sure we have a fall-back plan.
Too often we want to look back, to make sure the bridge is intact, though. I'm gonna try this Jesus thing for a while, but if it doesn't work out, I'm gonna go back to my old ways.
Now let’s see how a couple other people responded to an invitation not from Elijah but from Jesus – God in the flesh!
Luke 9:59-62 (NKJV)
These two guys were given the same invitation – come follow me. They both said, "OK, but first …".
First let me bury my dad. – His dad wasn’t dead, or he’d already be at the funeral. What he was saying was wait until I’m older, and my parents are dead, and then I’ll come follow you. Jesus said forget about it – don’t bother. I am calling you right now, not years from now
The second guy also said OK, but first he wanted to go back and tell everyone goodbye, tell them he loved them and missed them and all that. This sounds reasonable – it sounds almost like Elisha, but he wasn’t going back, to make sure he could never come back. "Let me go back, straighten things out, make sure I leave on good terms so if this whole Jesus follower thing doesn’t work out, I’ve got a home to go back to." Jesus basically says, "No way! Forget about it. Don’t bother coming, if your heart won’t be with me in it. If I’m not worth following right here, right now, then I’m not worth following at all."
And that’s it – you can be Elisha, or you can be that other guy. One has been remembered by name, through thousands of years, and has many stories recorded of him. The other guy is just a footnote example of what not to do. The call for all is the same, but there are really only two ways to respond: OK or no way.
"OK with conditions" is a "no way, not now." Delayed obedience is disobedience.
How will you respond - will you follow God no matter what? Will you worship him without shame? Will you repent and live his way? Will you serve him with all that you are? Or will you plan on doing it later, if ever?
The choice is yours – choose wisely.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
All scripture references from KJV (King James Version) unless otherwise noted