I woke up this past Saturday excited to be alive and why not?! I had just awoken from seven plus hours of sleep on my memory foam mattress. I was relaxing on the couch, sipping freshly brewed coffee from my french press, looking out the window at Lake Champlain in the distance. I quickly caught up on the weekend’s news on my iPhone’s USA Today app. I could hear my two year old son, Jude, beginning to stir and call “Daddy, you downstairs?” It would only be an hour until my wife and infant daughter came down too. I could not help but think, “isn’t it wonderful following Jesus in Burlington, VT.” It’s so easy to pray your kingdom come, your will be done under these circumstances.
BUT, I cannot help but wonder how I’d react if my nice neatly packaged life were shaken up:
What if me and my family encounter unexpected chaos?
What if Jesus’ path includes unexpected turns?
What if following Jesus really costs us a comfortable life in this community?
What if God asks for a far greater sacrifice than I anticipated?
As I read the New Testament I realize that these were not hypothetical questions for the early followers of Jesus, and I wonder would my attitude remain the same?
As I reflect on my thoughts and contemplate the scriptures, I see several temptations I need to be wary of:
* Having a “I’ve paid my dues” attitude. Hey, I’ve served as a youth minister, college pastor, and helped plant a church. Shouldn’t I be prepping for retirement?
* Thinking Jesus’ radical “follow-me” statements mostly apply to single guys in their mid-twenties. He couldn’t possibly be speaking to 39 year old married guys with two kids.
* Allowing God’s blessings to become barriers to following Jesus. It seems like this was a constant issue for people in Jesus’ time: see exhibit A and exhibit B. But doesn’t God’s will fit nice and neatly in the American Dream?
God has to remind me constantly that the greatest treasure found in the gospel is that we get God. Everything else is extra.