Leaving All Behind
In reading the Gospels, it’s hard not to notice- and openly admire- certain people’s initial responses to Jesus. In Matthew 4:18-22 and 9:9 we see Peter’s, Andrew’s, James’s, John’s and Matthew’s responses to Christ’s calling:
"18 While walking by the Sea of Galilee, [Jesus] saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 19 And he said to them, 'Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.' 20 Immediately they left their nets and followed him. 21 And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. 22 Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him."
"9 As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, 'Follow me.' And he rose and followed him."
In John 4, the Samaritan woman at the well (who was there to retrieve water) responded similarly to meeting Jesus:
"28 So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, 29 'Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?' 30 They went out of the town and were coming to him."
These individuals literally dropped what they were doing in life to follow and share Jesus. Occupation (fishing, tax collecting)? Bye. Father? See ya. Water? Who needs it now?! Christ was so compelling to these individuals that they didn’t care.
Now let’s juxtapose their responses to others’ in the Bible:
Matthew 8:21-22: "21 Another of the disciples said to him, 'Lord, let me first go and bury my father.' 22 And Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead.”
Matthew 19:21-22: "21 Jesus said to him, 'If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.' 22 When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions."
The young rich man in Matthew 19 had followed all the commandments and laws. He’d been a “good person.” But Jesus knew that the man’s love for material possessions was prohibiting him from giving everything up to completely follow Christ.
What’s blocking you from fully following Christ? Is it money/tithing? A secret sin you can’t let go? Your time and prioritization? Maybe it’s shame, regret, anger or bitterness from past wrongs. Perhaps your pride, reputation or value of other people’s opinions gets in your way of sharing Christ with others. Jesus knows our hearts and our fleshly desire to hold on to the things of this world. Challenge yourself to self-reflect and discern what may be hindering your walk with Christ. Jesus wants all of us and has the best in store for us!