Pastor’s Message September

Follow Jesus – Totally Committed

As [Jesus and the disciples] were walking along the road, a man said to [Jesus], “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” Luke 9:57-58

If God does not exist, whether you believe or not makes no difference. In the end you die. If God does exist, then following him brings an eternity of infinite happiness. Look at the pay outs. Isn’t it reasonable to bet that God does exist?

That’s a version of Pascal’s Wager (Blaise Pascal, 1623-62, Pensées). Although it might be useful in getting skeptics to rethink their unbelief, it fails to convey what it means to believe in God and follow him.

Is faith a rational calculation we make, carefully weighing the odds? Of course not! Is following Jesus simply an easy way to hedge our bets on eternity? In no way!

Yet, do we treat following him as if it were an insurance policy that hedges our bet in case we suffer losses? Maybe we calculate that reading a five-minute daily devotion doesn’t take too much time, so why not do it? Maybe we figure attending church on Sunday can’t hurt, just in case we need Jesus during the week.

Jesus crushes that sinful mindset with his words in Luke chapter 9. Following him is total commitment.

“But isn’t forgiveness free? Didn’t Jesus do everything for me, fully paying for all my sins with his death on the cross? Isn’t eternal life a free gift given by God’s grace alone, unmerited by me?” Yes, yes, and yes! This is the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

But this good news radically changes you and me from the inside out. God’s free forgiveness in Jesus leads us to fight against sinful ways, even though our old self tries to convince us it’s worth the risk. Following Jesus is total commitment.

Since Jesus died for us and rose again, we live for him. Don’t limit Jesus to a five-minute devotion or an hour on Sunday morning. Live for him every moment of every day. How? As you gratefully use your abilities to serve him in love by carrying out the responsibilities he gives you at home and work, in society and the church. Following Jesus is total commitment.

We follow Jesus, not wondering what our odds of making it to heaven might be. Rather, we follow with the sure conviction that eternal life is ours because of God’s unconditional promise, sealed by Jesus’ resurrection.

So follow Jesus, totally committed, because he is totally committed to you.