Following Jesus is at the heart of the Christian life. The Bible tells us about the early encounters of the first followers of Jesus. They gave up everything and followed after Him when He called. The church often preaches and teaches this kind of faithful response, and for good reason. The cost of following Jesus is everything. Jesus was very clear about this.
Unfortunately, some Christians have taken this to mean that we must must live a hyper-radical lifestyle that sees every Christian going into a career in missions in scary parts of the world. There are definitely people called to that kind of life, but not everyone is called to that. Every part of our life is subject to the lordship of Jesus, but that doesn’t mean that he has called us all to do the same thing.
A radical following of Jesus can look vastly different for each one of us. Some people are called to the mission field. Others are called to support through prayer and giving. Some folks are meant to preach and others are called to plant churches. Radically following Jesus can look like working your job with integrity, loving and supporting your family, participating in the life of the church with your gifts and talents, and engaging your community with the Gospel.
We are easily convinced that the big acts of sacrifice and demonstrations of power are what the change the world. Those things have their place. I believe that the everyday mundane acts of living, when dedicated to the service of Jesus, are what lead to lasting change in peoples lives. Simple acts of kindness and love in the midst of our families, friends, our churches, and our communities have the power to change peoples lives. Gandalf, a character from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings book and movie series says it like this…
Saruman believes that it is only great power that can hold evil in check. But that is not what I have found. I’ve found it is the small things, everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keeps the darkness at bay. Simple acts of kindness and love. – Gandalf The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Each one of us is called by Jesus to follow Him where He leads us. Sometimes that journey is perilous and frightening. Other times, that journey is full of common everyday moments and experiences. The task before us is to respond faithfully to the call of Jesus and to go where He leads us.
Questions for Reflection:
- What do you think it means to follow after Jesus?
- Have you experienced any cost associated with following Jesus?
- Are you faithful in the mundane parts of your life?
- What do you believe keeps the darkness at bay?