PLAYING TO TIE
This is one of my favorite comics. I find it funny and sad both at the same time. Here's why I find it sad. If you just imagine Hagar being replaced by Jesus in this strip and Lucky Eddie's comments coming from the church, you may get some insight.
The Scriptures are clear: Jesus calls us to dramatic, all-in, sacrificial, radical discipleship. He asks us to follow Him...to walk as he walked (1 John 2:6). And if that wasn't clear enough, he goes on to say crazy things like these familiar verses (that if we are honest, wish they weren't in there).
As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:57-62
“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. Matthew 6:24
Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. Luke 9:23-24
or this crazy one
Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:39
And just when you thought that maybe what Jesus is saying is ALL hyperbole, Paul comes along and says more of the same. Things like...
For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. Phil 1:21
I want to know Christ--yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings,
becoming like him in his death. Phil 3:10
I could go on. The clear teaching of the Bible is that those who choose to follow Jesus are called to leave all behind for the sake of the one who died for them. And in that call to lose it all, Jesus promises that we would overcome (1 John 5:5), that we would do even greater works than He did because He has sent his Spirit (John 14:12), that the gates of hell would be brought down (Mt 16:18) and eventually we would reign with Him (2 Tim 2:11-13).
Can I be honest? I don't see it. I don't see that power in my life and in most of the churches I've been in. Yet, the reason why it's not there is as plain as the funnel on Lucky Eddie's head. We are just playing to tie. We don't really want what the life that Jesus has for us...we are too attached to this temporal world and refuse to see the blessing in the eternal. We want all the benefits of Christianity but none of the burden. Remember “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.." I fear we spend more effort in winning the battle to gain fancy holes and nests than in completing the mission we have been entrusted with. Jesus has promised us victory but we keep asking Him what we have to do to just tie - to follow Him just a little - to not rock the boat.
Church. What are you here for? Why do you exist? I pray we would stop avoiding the cost for the sake of comfort, embrace radical discipleship and claim the victory that is in Christ.
From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it. Matthew 11:12