“Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” – Matthew 16:24 (NKJV)
Let’s just say [rationally] that I am actively waiting.
For about 1 year now, but most intensely over the last 3 months I have felt an unquenchable desire to walk away from everything that I have, everything I’ve built up around me, everything I always thought I was supposed to pursue in life (based on societal expectations of course) for something greater. To completely let go of everything holding me back and follow after Jesus wholeheartedly, in every way possible. Have you ever stopped to think about how small and unimportant creating a resume, or stressing over people’s opinions of you, or what you’re going to do on friday night really IS in the grand scheme of life? Who cares!?! How is it that we get so distracted by the things of the here and now and completely lose sight of the big picture. I don’t begin to expect that any of us can grasp what “forever” truly means or what span of time that could even look like, but if our future in “foreverland” is based on what we spend our time ‘here and now’ thinking about, focusing on and working towards then shouldn’t it be things befitting of a “foreverlong” conversation? Think about it, we talk about where our passions lie and the fruits of what we labor at all the time. Heaven will not only last forever and be indescribable, but a direct representation of how we spent this life. What will I look out over when I get there? To me, there is nothing more important to talk about than God, His love and my pursuit of Him. That’s what I want to talk about forever. That’s who I want to look at when I get there and spend my forever with. Yeah, for the here and now I can muster through the mindless chit-chat or sometimes engulf myself in someone’s problems if they need to talk…for all of about 15 minutes, then I’ll trail off into something like “Hey, remember how cool Jesus was that time when…” Dude. All kinds of awesome Jesus things are coming in to my head right now. Focus Rachel.
A man’s heart plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps. – Proverbs 16:9
Don’t worry, I know not to get ahead of God or blaze my own trails and that’s why I will continue on where I am. I will keep up my studies not just because I can begin to see the finish line from here, but because God intended for me to go through this time of learning and waiting. I will do it with excellence and as unto the Lord. I will try desperately to learn from and absorb all the trials and benefits of going through this period in my life, and not just focus on what I can do when I am finally free. But my heart beats to be a helper, encourager, and blessing to this world; to do more. My heart cries out to make Jesus Christ famous.
Accepting where I am right now still comes with its questions: What am I REALLY doing to benefit the Kingdom? How can I spend less time pouring my life into this world and more time pouring my life into the world to come…that something greater? I read the Bible and see a disconnect between what I do everyday and what I’m truly called to do if I believe what the Bible says. As I read through the gospels I see time and time again Jesus walking ever so cooly into the lives of each disciple (‘pre-discipledom’) and all He’d have to say is “Follow Me” and they would immediately drop and leave everything they were doing to follow Him. (Matthew 4:20-22, Matthew 9:9, Mark 2:14, Luke 5:11, John 1:37, 43). They didn’t know what they were getting into necessarily, but what they could obviously sense was that following Him was going to mean something so much greater than what they were doing, and putting it off or taking some time to think it over was simply out of the question. Why do we think that pursuing God with that sort of diligence and fervor is an option? How have we gotten to where we pick and choose when and what we might do for Him based on our lifestyle? Remember He came to them and said “FOLLOW ME”… period. I don’t see where it says “follow Me, next year.” Or “follow Me when you can get some money collected or time off work”. This is a full-time-all or nothing-in it until the end-nothing matters more, kind of deal.
“Then a certain scribe came and said to Him, “Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” Then another of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” But Jesus said to him, “Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead.” – Matthew 8:19-22 (NKJV)
That is my heart: “Lord, can’t I just walk away from all of this and follow after You in complete abandonment, no distractions?” How restless I feel yet in all actuality I am walking in a period of such joy. Lately, half of any typical day of mine is spent in deep thought contemplating things far beyond my understanding, and the other half is spent smiling. Is it crazy that my heart starts racing with excitement at the thought of selling everything I own (which isn’t much, mind you) contacting a ministry in desperate need of volunteers and just throwing my entire self into that for as long as possible, living by faith of God’s provision? As John Piper so eloquently titled his book: Don’t Waste Your Life, so is my motto.
What would happen if we all just sat down and read the scriptures; took them completely at face value and lived them out? Putting everything society has said out of our minds. Putting all of our traditions and comforts and societal norms away and followed the Bible’s example just as it reads?
Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” – Matthew 19:21 (NKJV)