The calling of the disciples. Have you ever given much thought to exactly what those twelve men were called to do? I mean sure they got to walk beside Jesus and perform miracles, but they were also called to walk away from everything, EVERYTHING in their lives…we are foolish if we don’t count the cost of what they were asked to give up; wives and children, homes and security. Could you imagine yourself doing the same? Honestly I don’t know if I could.
Of course I could walk away from my house, and most of my possessions, but what about that ring my beloved grandmother gave me? And don’t even get me started on my kids. I mean I know I’ll eventually have to give them up, but on my terms, when they are old enough to leave the house and go to college. Except that’s not really true is it? I could lose everything tomorrow, today even. We live our lives with such an illusion of control. We put our kids in travel sports, Kumon, music, etc. all because we are determined to make them into their best selves… except anyone who’s ever had more than one child knows that you really don’t have much control over how athletic they are, how smart they are, how friendly, kind, caring they are. Our children are born with their own personalities and while we can sand off some of the sharp edges, and we can love them unconditionally and teach them values and principles, they will ultimately be who and what they are going to be. No parent of a murderer thinks that they are going to raise a killer.
So when Jesus called on his disciples to give up everything, he wasn’t really asking them to give up anything that was really theirs to begin with. There are a lot of people, my husband included, who believe that we are successful in life because we work hard. I don’t discount that. I absolutely believe that hard work matters. But, I also think it’s important to remember how much of your success was simply because of who you were born to be, because you were born with an aptitude for something, or a gift? I was born with a love of books and an aptitude for writing. That was a gift. How I choose to develop it, or what I choose to do with it is entirely up to me, but in the end, it will always be a gift from God, not something of my own creation.
So the question we have to ask ourselves instead, is what are we willing to give up when Jesus calls us to be disciples? Websters defines a disciple as one who accepts and assists in spreading the doctrines of another: such as a Christianity. In Luke 9:22-27 Jesus says “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world and yet lose or forfeit his very self?” I think that what he is calling on us to do here is give up the illusion of control and trust in him.
How many times have you found in your own life that the more you try to control a situation, the less control you actually have… the more you “lose” control? When Jesus calls us to give up our families, to deny ourselves and to lose our lives to save them, he is calling on us to surrender our illusions, to trust in him completely. And it is in giving up our illusions that we find the peace and comfort and joy. Today’s world is determined to convince you that you are in control, with your smart phone you can turn on your car, your lights, your furnace, all from across town. But do those things really matter, or are they illusions to distract you from the fact that you aren’t really in control of anything important? You can’t control if you are going to get cancer, or if you will be in a car accident, or even if your children will make it home safely from school today. I guess if those things aren’t really under my control, then I find it a lot more comfortable knowing that they are under the control of the One who is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow; The Maker of the Heavens and the Earth.
What is Jesus calling you to do today? To follow him? To become a disciple? To give up your illusions? I have personally found great comfort and peace giving up my life and family to Jesus. I know he can and will do the same for you. All you have to do is ask.