“Daddy guess what, I want to be a police officer when I grow up”. My three year old revealed this to me a few weeks ago. My daughter is not unlike many other small children who often desire to be firemen, doctors, or even super heroes with the motive of helping others. Children love reading bedtime stories of heroic figures that make impact and ultimately turn unfortunate circumstances into happy endings. Unfortunately as we grow older we are influenced by a culture that deludes us into thinking that ultimate success in life is equated with money, power, and looking out for numeral Uno.
I heard a sermon being preached at my local church last Sunday and I must admit it made me feel a little uncomfortable. It was a sermon on Jesus revealing to his disciples that if anyone would come after him he must first deny himself and pick up his cross daily. Let’s admit it, growing and maturing Christians may be called into distressing situations. Jesus is not calling for endless martyrdom or to make our lives miserable, but he knows that fulfillment can only occur when we live our lives for God’s purpose instead of our agenda. Every Christian is equipped with a spiritual gift that is utilized to carry out a function in the body of Christ. Sometimes our gifts have the greatest need in situations outside our own personal comfort zone.
It is easy for me to blog on this topic, but it is entirely different for me to put it into practice. I have often found myself allowing Jesus into certain areas of my life while restricting him to those areas which will require a greater sacrifice.
In this blog maybe I am writing to a talented individual who is a nurse or doctor and God is calling you to missionary work to provide basic health care services in Third World Countries. Maybe there is someone who has deep compassion for the youth and God is calling you into neighborhoods which are a far cry from your lifestyle in suburbia to minister to those communities that are intertwined in a gun culture that feels that deadly violence is the only way to earn respect. Maybe there is a teenager out here who is convicted to stand against bullying even if the cost is losing superficial friendships.
I often wonder where our country would be today if we didn’t have brave abolitionist who rebelled against the institution of slavery and fought for justice even at the risk of their own personal safety. Let us also examine the lives of Jesus’s disciples who began as scared and timid individuals but after witnessing a resurrected Savior were transformed to boldly evangelize and spread the gospel despite the fact that some eventually became martyrs. Last of all and most importantly is that we have the example of Jesus Christ who emptied himself, was born into poverty, served the poor, and hung with sinners, and ultimately died to save humanity out of his unconditional love for us.
Do you like Jesus? Are you a fan? Or are you a follower? Fans cheer Jesus on, wear WJD bracelets, or even quote scripture on Social Media while neglecting the importance of service. Followers, on the other hand, realize that we are built for things so much greater than focusing on ourselves and desire to please God through time, talent, and treasure.
“As the Father has sent me, I am sending you; and he breathed on them and said, receive the Holy Spirit. Come Holy Spirit, do your work in us”—John 20:21