October 28, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

These thoughts have really been going on since last Wednesday night.  

In response to Christ’s command to give up everything to follow him (Luke 14:33) we find some interesting stories in the Bible.

The rich young ruler in Luke 18:18-23 – Christ asks him to essentially give up everything to follow Him. But, the young man walks away sad.

The three men who wanted to follow Christ in Luke 9:57-62 are seen as having priorities higher than Christ that they don’t want to give up.

I mean, these aspects have been hit on time and time again.  We know that Christ calls men to follow Him by giving up everything. But, unfortunately, to be fair, we have to admit that everything for us is hard. Americans especially suffer from “stuffitis”.  We love stuff.  We let everything else get in the way it seems.

But, looking at it logically – the four men mentioned from the passages above suffered from stuffitis too! No, it wasn’t internet, sports, television, etc, but it was just as much stuffitis as us!

Relationships and money are the two that really stick out to me.  Yeah – we don’t respond well to that. We like the tangible – not the spiritual.

But then, those verses aren’t really the ones that hit me.  I know I must give up everything.  What hit me is what verses are NOT there.  Let me explain:

If you look at the two stories of men who decided not to follow Christ, what you see in the end is a transition to another story.  It never paints the picture of Christ’s reaction.  I mean, how did Christ react besides just letting the men go?  How much did it pain Him to have someone say, “No, Jesus – I’ve got more important things.  I’ll get to you when I have time?”  I mean, no Christian in their right mind could ever imagine actually saying that to Jesus in their words – but words are empty a lot of times!  The actions are so loud.  So many people say that…including me.

The reason I ask is because teaching through Crazy Love the issue has come up with some of my students…but, I’ve seen that there are more important things.  No one has said, “No, I don’t want to follow Jesus…” But, I have had some tell me with words something along the lines of, “I know I can’t make a commitment to this or that, because I won’t follow through.” It broke my heart to hear those words. Not because I feel that I have failed as a teacher, but because I realize rejection of the most important relationship ever is happening in a way.  

So I looked for Christ’s reaction.  I was looking for the witty comeback to convict their hearts and start revival in the land…but there was silence.  We don’t really get the reaction because yes, Jesus let them go. But, somehow, I imagine that Jesus looked at them compassionately and painfully just said, “Okay…” Then He went on His way to love and lead others. I wonder if he looked back as He died on the cross and saw the faces of all of those who said, “No Jesus, not today!  I can’t follow you, I have too much stuff going on…” and winced at the thought of rejection?  I don’t know.  It’s all speculation.  I just know that if the call of Christ is to give up everything, and someone chooses to only give up some things, then they’ve disobeyed.

It’s sad.  It hurts.  I want to give up everything, and yet I fail when I try.  And, at the same time, there are others who don’t even try.  It’s painful to be stuck in the midst of rejection when you’re teaching. To be the outsider who looks and realizes someone is saying, “No…” but then I stop and I ask – how is Jesus reacting to rejection?

  1. November 12, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    Hey Ryan, I recently came across your blog and really enjoy your writing. This blog was great and really hit home for me! I have been thinking a lot lately about how we truly are called to give everything up and follow Christ through whatever valley He walks. Your blog put into words a lot of thoughts and feelings that I have had lately.

    I was wondering if you might be interested in contributing to the resource library of the website for the ministry that I work with. I think that you have some great stuff and I would love to get it out to other youth ministers. You can check out the resource library we just got up and running (www.calledtoyouthministry/resources) and you can contribute by going to the contribute page (

    Thanks for considering contributing to the resource library, but more importantly, thank you for your writing and for your work.
    Please let me know if you have any concerns or questions.
    God bless,

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