Day 47: February 16, 2013

Today's Reading(s)

Matthew 4:18-22 Read Online
Mark 1:16-20 Read Online
Luke 5:1-11 Read Online

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Today's Reflection

Key Verse(s)

“Follow Me,” Jesus told them, “and I will make you fish for people!” Immediately they left their nets and followed Him.

—Mark 1:17-18

The Choice Is Yours
by Brian Ball, Member of Brentwood Baptist, Brentwood Campus

The Bible has several moments where you just want to be there. You just want to see the events unfold before you, or even better, be one of the participants in the story. Certainly these moments from early in Jesus' ministry would be on that list—the call of His first disciples.

I’m amazed at how personal it is. He doesn’t make a proclamation to the crowd and see who comes forward. His call is directly to Peter and Andrew, to James and John.

Sometimes we lose the personal calling of Christ in the activity of being Christian. We seem to believe either doing Christian stuff (like going to church) or hanging around with Christians makes us Christian. Some of us act like we don’t have to change the focus of our lives in order to follow Christ.

But we do change when we choose to follow Christ. Our choice is displayed in our lives. Look at the disciples He called in these passages. They gave up their livelihood, the way they paid the bills, to follow Him.

They gave up cultural and familial expectations—think about what their fathers thought about their decisions to follow Jesus. These boys were expected to take on the trades of their fathers, to continue the family business, and they walked away. Think about the damage to their reputations, how people in their communities would disparage them.

Jesus calls us to pick up our crosses daily and follow Him (Luke 9:23). Sometimes we misunderstand this statement. People talk about something that has happened to them—an ailment, a circumstance, something they’ve not chosen—and say it’s their “cross to bear.” It’s not. Your cross lies before you each day.

The Greek word for “take up” in Luke 9:23 means “to pick up and place on oneself.”  You make a conscious choice to pick up your cross, put it on your back, and walk as Jesus calls us to do. Consequences come from this choice as consequences came for the disciples in this passage.

You’ll suffer for your choice to follow Christ. Relationships will be strained when you do the things you’re called to do. You may lose it all to follow Him. You may have to choose between Jesus and the job, Jesus and the money, Jesus and the comfort, Jesus and certain activities. You’ll have to choose who or what you’ll follow.

But, as Luke 9 continues, this choice to follow Christ is well rewarded. While we may not see worldly benefit from it (as all the disciples suffered and many were martyred for their faith) we have eternal treasures where rust and thief cannot take them away.

We have hope, here and now. We have life. We have the presence of God with us, never again being alone.

Reflection Questions

  1. Are there things in your life that Christ is asking you to let go of to follow Him (like the fishermen with their nets)?
  2. Did you pick up your cross today and follow Him?
  3. Let’s pray: Father God, we’re thankful. We’re thankful for grace. We’re thankful for Your hand in our lives. We’re thankful for Your Son coming to save us. Bless us to hear Your voice, to hear Your call, and to obey. Give us the humility, strength, and courage to take up our cross today and follow You. Be with us, Lord. You’re all we need. In the precious name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

About the Author

Brian Ball

Since 2004, Brian has been a member of Brentwood Baptist. He’s been involved in many ministries, including leading and teaching Bible studies and is currently serving as a Trustee.