What is more important to me, my own home comforts and my relationships at home, or the will of God for my life?
Alright thank you very much, and hello again dear radio friends. How in the world are you? Doing all right today? Oh, I’m fine, thank you. I have just been praying for all of you who may be listening, that the Spirit of God might give you personally, that is you I mean, something special for your own need today. Let’s trust God that that prayer may be answered. I want His love and blessing and truth and power to be in my voice and in every word I say, and that of course means that God has to have control of yours truly, doesn’t it? What you say comes out of what you are.
We’re in Mark chapter 8, and our Lord Jesus has said, “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me”. We’ve been discussing what it meant, those phrases, “deny himself’, and “take up his cross”, so on. Now we come to the phrase, “follow Me”. There are number of occasions of course, as you who read your Bible know already, when our Lord Jesus used that expression. The Gospels record His call to the disciples, “Follow Me and I will make you to become fishers of men”, He said to Peter later on, “Fear not Peter from henceforth thou shalt catch men”, used a fisherman’s verb meaning to take fish alive in a net. You’ll take them alive, like a fisherman catches fish in a net. “I’ll make you fishers of men”. That’s the first thing He said to them, “Follow Me, I’ll make something of you”.
Have you given any thought lately to what the Lord may be making of your life? It has to be admitted that most of us go on through life, not really giving much thought or concern to what we are becoming. It’s hard enough to live through any given day, isn’t it? Mothers have a million things they have to do without anybody saying thank you. Business people, men and women, go out to the office or the shop, selling their wares, from client to client, and it’s a busy, demanding schedule and just to get through the day is hard enough, let alone philosophizing on what kind of person am I becoming. The fact is however, that God is interested in making something of us.
“God hath made him Christ to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him and the fruit of the Spirit”, that is the result of the Holy Spirit controlling your life, “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance”. So, it is important isn’t it, to think about what you’re making of your life, especially is this true when you’re in your salad days, your teens, 20’s, 30’s, you have a chance to alter the course of your life, if you will, to conform with God’s plan for you. “I’ll make you”, said He, “fishers of men”.
Has it ever struck you that the number one occupation our Lord Jesus was interested in, was that of soul winning? He began His call to these people by saying, “I’ll make a soul winner out of you, fishers of men”. A soul winner. Stop to think about that for a moment, and then compare that concept with the types of things to which we ordinarily give the most attention. To gain a living, to have a shelter over our heads, to have clothes for our bodies, to have a car to take us from one place to another, to have money in the bank so that we’re not destitute, and have some sense of security, to have a happy relationship with people around us, to be accepted by people and appreciated by people, all of these are very strong motivations, aren’t they? But, what our blessed Lord has in mind is that we should become those who are able to win others to Him. So that I have to ask this question; are you any more adept, any more expert as a soul winner today, than you were say a year ago?
Now, I know we have all manner of reasons why we’re not doing this sort of thing. Someone says, “I’m very shy, I can’t talk to people about this”. I notice however that you talk to people about other things, with which you are at ease. You ladies, you can’t talk to someone else about her soul, but you can talk to the same person about a new recipe for apple pie. See, we talk about the things, number one, in which we’re interested in, number two, concerning which we know enough to feel at ease with other people. If I go to a man who owns a garage, and I walk up to him and say, “Have you been born again?” he may recoil. If I walk up to him and start talking about the proper gap to set a spark plug when you’re tuning up an engine, he will immediately reply with confidence. Why? Because he knows about that.
Well then, what we’re saying is, Christ’s plan for you and for me, His disciples, is that we become expert fisherman for people, soul winners that is. “Follow Me”, said He, “and I will make you fishers of men”. Interesting isn’t it? He said to another person who had given an excuse, said, “Let me first go bury my father”, which was a way of saying, I don’t want to leave home until after my parents have passed away. Our Lord Jesus said, “Let the dead bury their dead, but you go and follow Me”. What was He driving at there?
Well to follow Christ obviously means to put the Lord Jesus first before family ties, which in many cases proves to be quite difficult and yet that’s part of His demand upon those who would really be His disciples. The obverse of it in a cruel and malicious and devilish form, is found of course, in totalitarian countries where the state demands that you be more loyal to the state then you are to your own family, and that you be willing to turn them in if they are guilty of some violation of rules. What a malicious and devilish system, but our Lord Jesus said, “I want you love Me more than anybody else in all the world, thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart with all thy soul, with all thy mind, with all thy strength”, and He says, “Thy neighbor as thyself”. The Lord Jesus wants our complete allegiance and so He said to this man who was using his aged parents as an excuse for not coming with the Lord, said, “Let the dead bury their dead”, you come and follow Me. There is no record of what the man did. I assume that he went on home, because it doesn’t say that he followed the Lord Jesus.
Many a person faced with this choice, what is more important to me, my own home comforts and my relationships at home, or the will of God for my life? Many a person faced that question, turns away.
Now the same thing is true in that Matthew 19:21, where someone was desperately interested in following the Lord Jesus, “Came running to Him and bowed down, said, ‘Good Master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’, Jesus said, ‘You know the commandments”. He gave him the Commandments, all of them except the ones having to do with God. And the young man said, “All these have I observed from my youth up”, “The Lord Jesus looking at him”, it says, “loved him and said go sell what you have and give to the poor and come and follow Me”. Indicating of course the Jesus knew that his riches, the young man’s riches meant more to them than anything else in the world. It said, “The young man went away sad at that saying because he had great wealth”. What does it mean to follow Christ? It means to put your potential, your financial potential at His disposal.
Now I don’t think to the Bible teaches that everyone of us should give everything away. If we did, we’d all be mendicants, dependent upon somebody else, heaven knows who, and so I don’t see that as the teaching, the general teaching of the Bible. What I do see is that God insists that He be in charge of your and my use of our money, and that’s a different matter entirely. To pray every day, “Lord what you want me to do?”, and, “How much do you want me to give?’, and, “Where do you want me to give it?” That I think is what’s indicated here.
My good friend Mel Larson has been with the Lord now for a number of years, he worked with me and Youth for Christ was editor of the Campus Life Magazine for a while, and we were very close friends. I got, therefore, in you may say, on a little family secret. New Year’s Day every year, they tell me that Mel would gather his little family together, his wife Carolyn, who also now slipped along into the glory, and his son Jim and his daughter Sue, and they would sit down around the table, they would figure out what was going to be their next year’s missionary challenge. They would put down dad’s salary and how much mother would earn doing some typing and other part-time work, and how much Jim could earn mowing lawns, of all then how much Sue could earn babysitting, put it all down and then list their fixed costs. The mortgage, the car, the insurance, the doctor, the dentist, the clothes, the food, the heat, and the light and so on, and after they’d list all are fixed costs, as over against what they hoped to make, then they would say, “Now, how much do think the Lord wants us to give to missions this year?”, and they would each year, they would increase the amount that they were giving to the Lord Jesus Christ, for missionary work overseas.
Now that, it seems to me, is an illustration of how I ought to treat my finances, under God. I ought to put them all at His disposal, I ought to be sensible and recognizing the fixed costs that I have to face, I have to ask for His direction in managing the whole thing, and I have to see how much, not how little, I can give to His work for spreading the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. I think what’s involved there.
The problem is that people love money. The Bible says, “The love of money is the root of all evil”, not money itself, but the love of it, is the root of all evil, and a Paul says, “They that be rich have pierced themselves through with many sorrows”. If you go after money as the goal in your life, you’re in for a good deal of hurt and heartbreak on the way. You may achieve the riches you sought, but that it hurts and breaks your heart on the way. That’s what the Bible says. So, instead of making money your goal, make God’s Will about money your goal, so that whether you have a lot or a little, you’re conscious about using it for His glory. Good idea wouldn’t you say? :”Follow Me”, Jesus said. Following Him means letting Him manage your money. “Follow Me”, means let Him take care of your relationship with friends and family. “Follow Me”, means specializing in the job God wants done. We call it soul winning, winning other people to the Lord Jesus Christ.
What else? Well the time is gone for today, but when we come back together again, we’ll think a little more about this matter, what it means to follow the Savior.
Dear Father today, may we be found following our Lord Jesus Christ, following that is, in the biblical sense of yielding our all to Him, in His name I pray, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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