Wednesday, March 7, 2012

For the Sake of the Call

Nobody stood and applauded them
So they knew from the start
This road would not lead to fame
All they really new for sure was Jesus had called to them
He said “Come follow me” and they came
With reckless abandon they came.

Empty nets lying there at the waters edge
Told a story that few could believe and none could explain
How some crazy fishermen agreed to go where Jesus led
With no thought for what they would gain
For Jesus had called them by name and they answered

We will abandon it all for the sake of the call
No other reason at all but the sake of the call
Wholly devoted to live and to die
For the sake of the call

Drawn like the rivers are drawn to the sea
No turning back for the water cannot help but flow
Once we hear the Savior's call we'll follow wherever He leads
Because of the love He has shown
And because he has called us to go we will answer

We will abandon it all for the sake of the call
No other reason at all but the sake of the call
Wholly devoted to live and to die

Not for the sake of a creed or a cause
Not for a dream or a promise
Simply because it is Jesus who calls
And if we believe we'll obey

We will abandon it all for the sake of the call
No other reason at all but the sake of the call
Wholly devoted to live and to die
For the sake of the call
Stephen Curtis Chapman

So, think hard, when was the last time you did something with “reckless abandon”?  Maybe, when we were kids, dashing for candy after a pi┼łate burst open?  Hunting for Easter Eggs? Unwrapping Christmas presents?  But probably not too often since we were, say, 10.  Right?  Anyway, it was sometime before we started worrying about whether or not we were cool or what other folks would think of us.

What about lately?  Hmmm, that gets tricky.  I mean candy and presents are one thing, but they don't really fit into the context of our everyday lives. 

Do we wake up every morning and dash off to work (or school) with reckless abandon?  (Not just because you're running late either.)  Now, some of us do head for home at the end of the day with something close to reckless abandon...or am I the only one?

Do we use every spare second of our time to study our Bibles or pray?  Do we rush to church every week?  Is there any reckless abandon in our relationship with Jesus?
All Jesus did was look at some fishermen and say, “Follow me”...and they did.  They didn't hesitate or worry about what would happen next, or whether people would think they were weird.  They just followed Jesus.  Isn't that miraculous?

What would you do if Jesus called you to follow Him?  Not tomorrow or next week or next year, today...right now.  I know what a lot of us would say.  “Well, that sounds just great.  Let's get a discipleship class started.”  Well, some of the articles I've been reading talked about answering the call to follow Jesus like they were doing a science fair project or something.  They talked about taking classes and going on retreats.  They had checklists of disciple qualifications. The went on about how important mentoring is in the process of discipling and building discipleship attitudes...all very analytical and organized...and lifeless.  None of it involves anything like reckless abandon.

I'm not convinced that answering the call can be that premeditated.  What do you think?  Jesus calls us and we either follow Him, or we don't.  Dietrich Bonhoeffer compares answering Jesus' call to Peter stepping out of the boat, onto the water.  “Jesus called him. And so he went.  He decided to answer Jesus.”

I think I tend to be much more like the rich young ruler:  “And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? ... Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.”  Matthew 19:16,21-22

Not because I'm rich, but because I want Jesus' answer to be something I'm already doing...something that's easy.

It's not easy, though.  Jonathan Scanlon writes,  “A call to discipleship is a huge and extraordinary disruption in one's life.  There is not much more one can risk in a lifetime.  Through answering God's call to discipleship, we are dealing with a choice which effects one's entire family.  Discipleship always has a cost.  By becoming Christ's disciples, we must be willing to give up something to follow and serve.”

The disciples didn't ask how or when or why.  They didn't worry that in the context of their lives, the call didn't make sense.  They dropped everything and followed Jesus.  Beth Brehaut says, “God's call doesn't usually make sense, but then, it doesn't have to.  It is a holy, whacky agreement between you and God...between me and God...that says we will go for broke for the sake of the Gospel and God will never leave us alone.  How could anyone turn down an offer like that?”

Ellen White said it like this:  “The joy, the success, the glory of your ministry, is to be ever ready with listening ear to answer the call of the Master, "Here am I; send me" (Isaiah 6:8). Here, Lord, with my heart's best and holiest affections; here, take my mind with its purest and noblest thoughts, take me, and qualify me for Thy service. “ Notebook Leaflets from the Elmshaven Library Vol. 1 (1945), page 75.

And Jesus says it this way, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:...” John 10:27

“And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Matthew 4:19
“If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.” John 12:26 

“And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. “ Luke 9:23

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