Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Follow Me and Leave it all Behind

Follow Me and Leave it all Behind

"No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God." - Luke 9.62 (NIV)
"No procrastination. No backward looks. You can't put God's kingdom off till tomorrow. Seize the day." - Luke 9.62 (The Message)
"No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." - Luke 9.62 (KJV)

Jesus calls us to leave and follow Him. What do we leave? We leave our ideas of how a "good" person lives. We follow the pattern Jesus shows us of how a child of God lives. (Matthew 5.1 - 7.29 & Luke 6.20 - .49) We leave the idea that a job is our identity. After accepting the call of Jesus to follow: Peter, Andrew, James, John and Matthew would no longer see themselves as simple fishermen or a tax collector. From that point on they left their old identities behind and would identify themselves as disciples of Jesus who follow. (Matthew 4.18 - .22, Mark 1.16 - .20 & Luke 5.1 - .11) We leave the comforts of home and family, leaving that behind for a life that follows Jesus wherever He leads. (Matthew 8.18 - .22 & Luke 9.57 - .62) The path He leads us on may lead to danger and uncertainty or it may lead to joy and success. My experience shows me that we find both on the path on which He leads us. We are called to follow and leave ourselves behind. No longer do we, as followers, belong to ourselves but now we are His.

Jesus does not leave us alone. Even though we leave family, job, comfort, safety, certainty and ourselves behind we have been given so much! We have Jesus with us here and now. He is not only the one we follow but He is our fellow traveler as well. We also have each other on this path. We, as followers of Jesus, are walking together. Sometimes our paths take us in different directions, but we are all following the same leader. As we run and walk this path with Jesus and each other, we also have a mission. We leave behind our own agendas and the agendas of the world for Jesus' agenda. He calls us to continue His work and ministry here and now! We are to take the message of the Kingdom of God to this world. It is a world full of bad news. Isn't it wonderful that we have the true Good News to share? (Matthew 28.16 - .20, Mark 16.14 - .20 & Acts 1.1 - .11)

Jesus warns us that if we start to follow but don't leave things behind we are not fit for the Kingdom of God. We can't follow and not leave the things of this world and ourselves behind. It is like someone who starts to plow a field and continues to look back. Instead of nice straight rows that are fit for planting you end up with crooked overlapping rows that ruin a good field. So the choice is yours and mine. Do we leave and follow or do we stay behind and care for the things of this world? I choose to leave and follow and I pray that you will also!
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