The remarkable thing about our Lord is that He is always calling us and challenging us to become something greater – something more. There is always a greater place to which He desires to take us. I was reading in Matthew 8:18-22 today in which the Scripture tells us…”Now when Jesus saw great multitudes about him, he gave commandment to depart unto the other side. And another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead.”
It is amazing how the multitude followed Jesus but there was only a handful completely committed to Him. The multitude was there because of the handout they were expecting to receive. They were there because the Lord had provided them lunch – they were more concerned about their physical well being than their spiritual well being. That is the difference between being a follower and being committed: followers come for the instant gratification while the committed are in it for the long haul!
I feel compelled to challenge you today to examine whether you are a follower or completely committed. Jesus had just looked at the crowd who had gathered- no doubt many of them because of His immense popularity – but He was issuing them a challenge to go somewhere different. Come with me to the other side is what He challenged them to do. It is “the other side” that sets apart the followers from the committed. The “followers” will always have an excuse why they can’t go to the other side with Jesus. There will always be a more pressing obligation; something that seems more important at the moment. In this case…the excuse given by this man seemed legitimate. “I must go bury my father…surely you understand why I can’t follow you, Lord!”
The Lord is not looking for excuses – He is looking for excellence. Excellence only comes through commitment – never through convenience.
He doesn’t want us to follow Him only when it is convenient – commitment requires us to follow even when things aren’t so convenient. Commitment stretches us – challenges us and takes us to a dimension beyond our own desires into the desires of God.
Through this week the Lord has made some challenges to you in your time of prayer. There are places to which He has called you that at the moment seem a bit overwhelming and, quite honestly, fearful because it takes you away from all that is familiar. The “other side” is a challenge because it requires us to make the hard decision of how far will we go to follow Christ.
Do we follow Him out of convenience or commitment? Do we follow Him because of His popularity and power or do we follow Him because of His Person? What is it that the Lord has called you to do this week? Are you afraid because it is something of which you feel inadequate or incapable? Are you making excuses why you can’t do it because it requires you to change?
Today – make the decision that you will move beyond the crowd of followers and start standing out as the committed disciple. You may not know what lies of “the other side”…but I guarantee there is more joy and complete peace that lies there because the “other side” is a place of submission to the will of God.
Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” (Psalms 16:11)
I am excited to see “the other side” in your life. Where is Jesus calling you? Feel free to share it with me through email [email protected] or post it on my Facebook page. There are great things in store for you as you walk to the other side with our Lord!