Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. (Mark 8:34 NIV)
I was on the plane home from LA. I had downloaded the booklet called “What did Jesus really mean when he said follow me?” by David Platt. The flight attendant was standing near my seat passing out beverages. She looked at my iPad and asked what the name of the book was. I told her. She said, “I saw that line that says ‘It is tragic when so called Christians live like non-Christians running endlessly after the next temptation, the bigger house….’. I said, “Yes.” She said, “The Bible doesn’t say there is anything wrong with being rich.” I said, “No, it doesn’t. The book is about choosing Jesus first over everything.” She said, “Well, I don’t want to get into a big discussion but there is nothing wrong with having money.” I said, “No, there isn’t but the question is do you love your money more than Jesus?” She had to resume her job of serving others.
This conversation made me think. When Jesus said, “Follow me”, I think he meant completely. The disciples were to give up everything and follow Jesus. Everything. In a world where everything is about taking care of yourself, even in our churches, It made me wonder how I would answer the call. If Jesus called me to move to another country and I could only take 2 suitcases. What would I take? Say it’s a third world country and I couldn’t take my phone and iPad? Would I go? Here’s another scenario, if Jesus called me to make a lot less money and have less things – still living in the United States – better yet, still living in Washington DC where what you make and what you own are so important – would I be willing? Your turn. What does “Follow Me” mean to you? How far are you willing to follow Jesus call?
One parting thought….before the disciples were willing to sacrifice everything, including their lives, they had followed him and learned about him for 3 years. During that time, they fell in love with Jesus. His relationship with them had transformed them so they resoundingly said “Whatever it takes.” You will not be able to say “Whatever it takes” and mean it if you are not in love with him. So maybe today, the first step is to spend some time with Jesus.
By Elaine Kapentanakis