In the early Gospels, we read the stories of those who gave up everything and followed Him.
“Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me.” (Matthew 10:38) (NIV)
This was so important that it was stressed by Jesus many times.
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24) (NIV)
Giving up everything to follow Him was not easy for some who were asked. In fact, some chose to walk away instead, choosing their possessions on Earth rather than treasures in Heaven.
“Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. (Matthew 19:21-22) (NIV)
For some, it takes some time to understand the concept of following Jesus. It's not necessarily about giving everything up. It's more about a willingness to give everything up.What means more to you? Your relationship with Christ and with fellow Christians or things and status?
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21) (NIV)
The disciples had to learn this, just as we do.
Peter answered him, “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?”
Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.” (Matthew 19:27-30) (NIV)
So much of our lives as humans is measured in physical earthly things: possessions, jobs, status, etc. But in the end, what unit is used to really measure someone's life.
and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.” (Job 1:21) (NIV)
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.” (Matthew 619-20)
Take a look around. Those who have made the choice to pursue fame, careers, wealth or other materialistic things, are they happy, or are they continually looking for something else? Now compare a person like that with one who is totally devoted to following Christ, who has found true contentment in things not of this world but of God.
“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.” (1 Timothy 6:6-7) (NIV)
Following Christ brings joy. It brings contentment. It brings peace. It provides eternal satisfaction. Which do you choose?
I Will Follow by Chris Tomlin