Prepare for awesomeness.
That’s the tagline for Kung Fu Panda (the movie). I mention this because I have just finished watching it on this cozy snow day. Po, the protagonist panda, also says, “There’s no charge for awesomeness," but I beg to differ. The awesomeness that we are preparing for is Jesus, the One who is coming again, but there is a charge. It’s not a monetary charge, but a charge of our lives.
This week in Newing Small Group (WOOT WOOT), we studied Luke 9:57-62, The Cost of Following Jesus (sorry if this is a spoiler for you if you haven’t studied this in small group yet). In the passage, there is no explicit list of what we need to give up or take up to follow Him. But as we dig deeper into the passage, we see that there are things that we must be willing to leave behind. There are things we must change to live a life that is following Jesus. A man tells Jesus, “I will follow you wherever you go." Jesus’ response is, “Foxes have holes and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to rest His head." As willing as the man may have been to follow Jesus, Jesus reminds him that to follow Him, he will have to risk the possibility of having no place to stay. This may sound odd, because nowadays, we have motels, hotels, inns, etc. available everywhere, including places where we go to do the Lord’s work. But if we dig deeper, we see it is really Jesus telling us that the cost is much more than just a home, it’s everything. To the man who wants to bury his father, Jesus replies, “let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God”. And to the man who wants to first say good-bye to his family, Jesus answers, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God”. If we want to follow Jesus, we need to leave everything else behind and follow Him right now.
Our journey with Jesus begins right now.
This journey isn’t an easy one. It began with a sacrifice that Jesus made and now it requires sacrifice from us. It may be something big, something small, something long term, something short term, something cultural, or something that we have grown to love.
Sacrifice isn’t really sacrifice unless we do it with a humble and willing heart though.
Jesus doesn’t want us to be walking besides Him, grumbling the entire way about how we had to do this or give up that. He wants us to be joyful, because although we gave up something here on this earth, His glory here on earth trumps our desires and we are also expectantly looking towards the day where we will be with Him forever and ever (and if you ask me that will be pretty sweet).
If you have told Jesus that you are going to follow Him wherever He will go, how have you been following Him? Are you still holding on to things that are slowing you down, that are keeping you from walking with Jesus at a full pace? Have you been grumbling about how much you have had to give up or what you have had to do? Is He asking you to give something up for the kingdom of God? Do you need to re-evaluate where you have been walking?
Whatever it is, don’t wait.
Jesus, His Awesomeness, is coming.
He wants us, every part of us, so give your life over to Him.
As we prepare for Him to return, He is preparing for us a home in His kingdom for eternity.