Followers with Footnotes
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I saw this amusing commercial. This basset hound lying on the floor next to his master; his master is totally covered by the newspaper he's reading. On the floor in front of the dog is a page of the newspaper that advertises this incredible bargain airfare from a certain airline. Suddenly, the dog has a bubble over his head in which he sees himself at the kennel again while his master is off traveling. The dog quietly picks up that part of the paper that has the ad, trots over to the garbage can, drops it in, and goes back to his master's side, and his master never knows the difference. Of course, the dog has no way of knowing those great sale fares aren't always as great as they first appear. The sale fare is in big print, but at the bottom is the small print with lots of conditions. Or you call and you get some surprises. You have to fly over a certain day of the week, or there's a penalty for any changes, or there are only a few seats at that price, or you may have to book two years in advance! It looks great for a while, but the added conditions change things a bit - conditions you hadn't counted on.
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Matthew 19:27-29. By the way, Jesus knows how it feels to call - and to find out about unadvertised conditions. The Scripture says, "Peter answered Him, 'We have left everything to follow You! What then will there be for us?' Jesus said to them, 'You who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for My sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.'"
Peter's wanting to know what's in it for him to follow Jesus. Contrast that with his original commitment to Jesus in Mark 1, "Come, follow Me,' Jesus said, 'and I will make you fishers of men.' At once they left their nets and followed Him.'" There were no conditions, no footnotes, but now Peter's concerned about houses and field and closeness to his family.
Peter's not alone. His mind set here uncovers a troubling tendency in our commitment to Christ. Unconditional commitment to Christ tends to become conditional. As our lives get more complex, as we accumulate more and accomplish more, we start to add little footnotes and conditions to what began as an "anything goes" commitment to Christ.
There was probably sometime in your life when you opened yourself up totally to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. You said, "It doesn't matter where I live, how much money I make, what position I get, what I wear, what I drive, who goes with me..." but that can change. Now the Lord might be asking you to do something that might risk or change some of those parts of your life. Suddenly you're giving the Lord a contract with certain requirements: living in certain conditions, being near your family, keeping your position or some prized possessions, keeping a special person, being comfortable. You're saying, "Yes, Lord - but..." added conditions. The word "but" cannot follow the word "Lord."
Jesus assured Peter he was losing nothing any more than you lose the money you invest in a stock that later goes sky high. In fact, Jesus promises a reward a hundred times any sacrifice you make. What a return! But that kind of reward is reserved for those who give Jesus a blank piece of paper, not a contract.
Have you added footnotes and conditions to your once wide-open commitment? Get back to where you began - following Jesus in total abandon.
Distributed by Ron Hutchcraft Ministries, Inc.