The NBA Draft is just two weeks away. Looks like KY will have at least three players in the first round. Go CATS!
I was reading today about Jesus “drafting” his disciples some 2000 years ago. No first-rounders in his group. None of them were trained for what He wanted them to do. The first four were fishermen. (Mt. 4:18-22). No five-star recruits, and they were ALL challenging personalities. Peter had a mouth that was always in high gear. Andrew was so quiet that you’d have to tase him on occasion to see if he had a pulse. James and John were so volatile that they wanted to call down fire on a whole city. (Luke 9:54).
Then there were the others--Thomas the skeptic. Who wants a skeptic on their team? And Matthew? IRS agent…in cahoots with the Romans, padding his pockets with his own people’s money. And Simon the Zealot? He hated guys like Matthew, and he spent all his free time plotting ways to overthrow the Roman government. Imagine having those two guys in the same room.
NONE of them were world changers, by any stretch of the imagination.
Most of us wouldn’t invite any of them to our Life Group. But Jesus liked what He saw, because He saw their hearts...and if you think about it for a moment, none of us would know God today if these guys hadn’t said “Yes” to his call.
So a team took shape, and they all had the same focus: Jesus. He has a way of lifting us above our politics, preferences, cultures and temperaments. And aren’t we glad?
The Bible says they “left their nets" and followed Jesus. Their nets were their security, their livelihood. They took Jesus seriously and it showed. The old timers used to call it, “Making Jesus Lord.” I still like that term, but then, I guess I’m getting to be an old-timer! They also used to say, "If Jesus is not Lord OF all, He's probably not Lord AT all." In other words, if anything or anyone is more important than Jesus, we’re likely living off-purpose.
Fill in the blank. ‘I’d be happy to make Jesus the Lord of my life if_______. Guess what? Whatever's on the other side of the “if” is our real God. Think about that. Let me ask you another question. Is what you're currently living for...worth dying for? Your job? Your house? Your ambition? If it’s not worth dying for, maybe some reprioritizing is in order.
Imagine your house is on fire and you’ve got two minutes to get out--just 120 seconds. You can only take what you can carry in your arms. What would you take? If you’re married, your spouse would probably top the list (at least I hope so)! Certainly our kids would as well (unless they’re teenagers). Hey, just kidding! What else would make the list? Surely the family pet would be on there; perhaps some jewelry that has sentimental value, maybe some photo albums; or other keepsakes. The things all of us would probably take… are the things we love the most. But you know something? It shouldn’t take a fire to make those things a priority in our lives. If it does, we’re spending way too much time on things that don’t outlast time, and that’s a tragedy.
Frederick Buechner, in his wonderful book, Wishful Thinking, says, “The place God calls us to, is the place where our deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger converge.” Either way, that involves people...and Jesus… and what else really matters?
So here's the conclusion: Jesus said, “Follow me.” The Greek word means to “go with.” We might say, “to stick with” (like glue or adhesive). The message in the Bible is pretty clear: Stick with Jesus, even when life is difficult or falling apart. Why? Because He’ll stick with us till the end...and that will be enough.
Friend, the Christian life is just following Jesus, and loving people. Everything else is secondary...nonessential. It’s clutter, really. Nothing at all...but clutter... Maybe it’s time to declutter.