Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Tuesday's with Jesus #87

#87 "I Surrender Some"
March 13, 2007
Peter said to Him, "We have left everything to follow you!" "I tell you the truth," Jesus replied, "no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields - and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life."  (Mark 10: 28-30)
"When the will of God crosses the will of man, somebody has to die. (Addison Leitch, quoted in Passion and Purity, Elizabeth Elliot, Revell, 1984, p. 72). Jesus makes no bones about telling each one of us who that "somebody" is. And it certainly isn't Him!
When I read this passage of Scripture in Mark 10 this morning, I realized that Jesus certainly is consistent. You will never find Him contradicting Himself.  I guess maybe He's trying to pound His point home in my heart. And because He lets me in on His secrets, He expects me to share them with you.
Unlike the rich young man who couldn't leave his riches to follow Jesus, Peter, acting as the spokesman for the twelve, asks Jesus, "What about us? We've left everything to follow you! What do WE get?" Again, he was thinking of material honors in God's kingdom. Jesus answers him "verily" (surely, solemnly affirming) that we should leave everything. For His sake and the sake of the Gospel. Not for money, not for blessing, not for divine favor, not for salvation. Jesus says, "Leave it all FOR MY SAKE AND THE SAKE OF THE GOSPEL." Peter probably thought it... and we're going to ask it..."But what about all those other things that I leave behind?" We are so attached aren't we? Attached to people. Attached to our possessions. Attached to our ideas about how things should be. But Jesus says, "Leave them and I'll take care of the rest." 
Now I'm not telling you to run out and file for divorce today. Don't go sell your kids to the gypsies. (even though when my kids were younger, it sounded like a great deal!) What Jesus is telling you here is that your feelings for all of these things should be disregarded IN COMPARISON TO your devotion and feelings for Christ. God should always be first place. And He'll take care of the other things.
The prescription for our worry and anxiety over the things we might think we're giving up for Christ's sake and the sake of His gospel, is found in Matthew, Chapter 6, verse 33. Our beautiful Savior tells us, "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."  See what I mean about consistency? In our verses today Jesus in essence says the same thing. "No one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields - and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life." Different words...same concept...don't you think?        
Pastor and missionary, Andrew Murray said, "God is ready to assume full responsibility for the life wholly yielded to Him."  After pondering Jesus' words I believe that to be absolutely true. Give it all to Him, for His sake, and He will take care of the rest.
We love to sing the song, "I Surrender All". We lift our hands but our fists are held tightly closed. We are clenching and holding on to so many things. Our spouses, our kids, our jobs and certainly our time. Oh, how we value our own precious time. I know this one first hand. As God has called me deeper into preaching and teaching, my time had to be surrendered to Him. The time that I used to spend relaxing in the afternoons are now spent reading, studying the Word, preparing for messages and writing. Because I surrendered to His call on my life I can't do a lot of the things that others can do. I have to say no to a lot of lunches out with friends. I have to say no to some fun activities so that I can stay true to my calling. When God is calling, surrender must take place. And can I tell you...He HAS taken care of the rest. My husband is supportive. My boys have learned to adapt to my schedule of study and writing. And they're doing fine! And my time is so much richer than it has ever been. I do even get to rest. I don't know how He does it but I still have time for everything else and I never have to hurry or rush. He is graciously showing me that I am to serve Him, where He's calling me, because I am deeply in love with Him and the Gospel, not for any rewards that may come from Him.  But the rewards are there...I promise you, my beloved, they are there! Open your fists and instead of singing "I Surrender Some"...sing, "I Surrender All" and mean it with all of your heart. 
One of my favorite quotes from Charles Stanley is, "Obey God and leave all the consequences to Him."  He will handle everything that comes your way as a consequence of your obedience and devotion to Him. He just wants you to serve Him for His sake and the sake of the Gospel. Kingdom focus. Kingdom living. Kingdom serving. After all, His Kingdom will last forever. And that's where we need to stake our time, our energy and our treasures. Let Him handle the rest! I promise you, He will.
PS...I didn't intentionally leave out the part of our verse that says, "-and with them, persecutions". Discipleship often includes suffering. This fact removes the temptation to associate with Jesus simply for the rewards. But that's a whole 'nother message, for a whole 'nother day.
Donna Schultz                                                                             

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