First, I just want to give a big thank you for the overwhelming response to the blog Worth and Treasure. I was amazed at encouraging comments, messages, emails, and even some texts on how that blog penetrated your heart. I love to hear that God is not only convicting my heart on this topic, but many people. There were teenagers who made a comment, some older friends who emailed me, text messages from some friends, and even responses from a few contacts in Africa. It just reminded me that God is preparing His body GLOBALLY and He's calling us to get back on track with who He's called us to be. He's bringing us back to the TRUTH of the Word. Don't worry, all of that flows into what I really want to talk about today. I am ten days behind on my 6 month Bible reading plan because I cannot get out of Matthew 5-8. If you know me, getting behind on my Bible plan is not a normal thing whatsoever. Today I'm in five little verses.
Matthew 8:18-22 18 Now when Jesus saw a crowd around Him, He gave orders to depart to the other side of the sea. 19 Then a scribe came and said to Him, “Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.” 20 Jesus *said to him, “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” 21 Another of the disciples said to Him, “Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.” 22 But Jesus *said to him, “Follow Me, and allow the dead to bury their own dead.”
What a radical view of discipleship! And let's be real, why was Jesus talking about foxes and birds and nests? Doesn't it seem a little uncompassionate to tell someone not to go to their own Father's funeral? These verses take being a radical follower of Jesus to a level few want to even consider.
First, let's point something out here. Jesus had just healed Peter's mother -in- law and I'm pretty sure if Jesus needed a place to sleep, Peter would have been more than willing to invite Him to stay at their house. Is Jesus trying to say it's not okay for you to own your own home? Is He trying to tell the sadducee that if you're not willing to live exactly like me then you can't follow me? Does He just not like him? Is salvation not open to him?
Of course I have an opinion. I think Jesus was setting a precedent, not only in verse 19, but again in verse 22. The point here is that following Jesus and doing the work of the Father matters more than where we lay our head, it matters more than our own comforts, it matters more than your own family. Because scripture cannot and will not contradict itself I know that this wasn't about sacrifice, it was about obedience.
Look at some of these scriptures, 2 Cor. 8:9 "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor... " Jesus chose to live uncomfortably, to not own a home, to humble Himself, to face demonic activity, to be around the spiritual forces of this world, to come face to face with people who hated Him.... for me? He chose to leave THE PLACE of complete joy, complete provision, complete comfort, complete presence of God, He was rich and became poor... for us. Why? The Bible says for God so loved the world HE SENT.... Jesus did it because God told Him to. Obedience to the Father was of higher priority than anything. Obedience was worth more than personal needs or desires. He trusted God with His personal needs or desires. Let's finish the verse: "so that you through His poverty you MIGHT BECOME RICH." Look at Luke 18:29-30 "I tell you the truth," Jesus said to them, "no one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much IN THIS AGE and, in the age to come, eternal life."
Now what is this saying? Is God going to make me rich... oh yes He will, just get your mind off of what the world calls rich. Will you receive many times more that what you give up, oh yes you will. The blessings of God aren't just eternal life. They are peace NOW, joy NOW, healing NOW, redemption NOW, and yes provision NOW. Matthew 6 says that if God feeds the birds without them sowing and reaping (WORKING) how much more will He also feed you? We have nothing to worry about (The actual translation means, to "take thought of"). I do not have to be concerned of sickness, depression, financial issues, my God is more than enough to handle all those things.
And if for some reason we think only Jesus could leave all to follow God. Let's look at Paul. "Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ" (Phil. 3:8)
Paul who had prestige, knowledge, promotion, title, finances, respect, dignity... He said I get rid all of it, counting it as GARBAGE, so that I can be obedient to Jesus.
Jesus was consistent throughout the gospel that following God will cost you, your life. He said take up your own cross and follow me. Paul said, I die daily. Discipleship requires radical obedience. It means now all of my life, my dignity, my time, my money, my relationships, they're all His and He can take and do with them as He pleases. That is true discipleship. That is true Gal. 2:20 I have been crucified and I no longer live. He wants control of it all.
What you have to do, change, or give up, will look different for someone called to the mission field or someone called to be a business executive. It's not about equal sacrifice, it's about obedience and He promised it would all be worth it. I can guarantee you this, Jesus will call you to do something radical. It will always be something that doesn't make sense to our "society" maybe not even to your church. I encourage you today to ask Jesus for direction. What radical steps is He asking you to take? Where is He asking you to get out of your comfort zone (why do I keep getting brought to the ten not optionals?).
Have you felt it personally? I see it across the globe. The Holy Spirit is moving the bride to look more like who they love. He is calling the bride to look more like the Word of God. He is moving us, stirring us, and bringing us to a place of radical obedience.
Will you follow? Some will, some won't. I want to be like my Jesus. Be Blessed, J. Tate