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Column: PASTOR’S PONDERINGS – Is It Worth It?

By: Steve Wilmot

Jesus’ consistent invitation to people is “follow me.” The Christian group Sidewalk Prophets wrote and sang a song imagining what it would be like if Jesus walked up to someone today and offered the same invitation.

If I saw You on the street
And You said come and follow me
But I had to give up everything
All I once held dear and all my dreams
Would I love You enough to let go?
Or would my love run dry
When You asked me for my life?

In our modern-day watered-down gospel, it seems heresy to suggest that Jesus demands those who follow him to give up everything. That following him is worth sacrificing everything for.

Yet that’s exactly what we hear Jesus ask potential followers to do. All. The. Time. He asked Peter, Andrew, James, and John to follow him, and they left their family and their fishing business. He invited Matthew to follow him, and he left his lucrative tax collecting business.

A ruler approached Jesus to ask what he had to do to have eternal life. Jesus listed a few of the Ten Commandments and the guy said he’d kept each one since he was a boy.

Then Jesus 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.’ When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was very wealthy (Luke 18.22-23).

Is Jesus insisting we must sell everything we have to be his follower? No. Wealth is not sin. Many Christ-followers in the Bible and since were wealthy people.

What he’s saying is that to follow him means we must sacrifice anything that stands in the way of being a completely committed follower. For this guy it was his wealth. For others it was family, friends, career.

What is it for you? This raises another important question: Is it worth it? Is it worth giving up everything you hold dear? All your dreams?

In their song, the Sidewalk Prophets answer for themselves: “If You’re all You claim to be, then I’m not losing anything.”

Do you really believe that? Do you really believe you can’t come out on the short end if you choose to follow Jesus? That he is worth sacrificing everything for? That he really is the hidden treasure in the field you’d sell everything to have?

That’s what he demands of those who would follow him. Not an hour or two a week to go to church. Not a few bucks in the offering plate. It’s more than that. He wants to see a willingness to do anything it takes.

So, is it worth it? After the rich guy walked away from Jesus because he wasn’t willing to sell his possessions, the Twelve wondered whether making the sacrifices they had made were going to be worth it.

Peter voices their doubt, “We have left all we had to follow you!” Hidden within his comment is another question: “Did we make a mistake? Are we going to regret that we left everything to follow you? Jesus, is it gonna be worth it?”

“‘Truly I tell you,’ Jesus said to them, ‘no one who has left home or wife or brothers or sisters 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.” (Luke 18.28-30).

Jesus tells the Twelve and us, “Yeah, it’s worth it. It’s worth it now, and it’ll be worth it after you die. It’s more than worth it.”

Whether we believe him is shown by what we’re willing to sacrifice to follow him. By what we are willing to do; by what we are willing to give up to gain true treasure — Jesus himself.

Paul echoes Jesus’ words when he writes to the Roman Christ-followers, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (Romans 8.18).

If you saw Jesus on the street and he said, “Come and follow me,” but you had to give up everything – all you hold dear and all your dreams, would you love him enough to let go and follow him? Would you?

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Steve Wilmot is a former Edgerton, Ohio area pastor who now seeks “to still bear fruit in old age” through writing. He is the author of seven books designed to assist believers to make steady progress on their spiritual journey.


 

The post Column: PASTOR’S PONDERINGS – Is It Worth It? first appeared on The Village Reporter.


Source: The Village Reporter

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