When I was in my teens a group of my friends went out to the rock quarry near our town and met for a swim. The rock quarry had a cliff (of course) that was probably 40 feet high and it was the big thing to run and jump off that cliff. There were probably seven of us and to the person every one of us ran and jumped off the cliff, yelling as we fell to the water below. We continued to swim for awhile and then another one of our friends drove up and announced he was sorry he was late and began to change into his cutoffs (old school). We were all yelling for him to hurry up and jump in and we saw him take a big run toward the cliff and everything was going fine until his brain clicked in with a voice of reason and fear. About two feet from the edge he decided to stop, but the only problem was the gravel at the edge of the cliff didn’t let him. He proceeded to awkwardly “slide” over the cliff in an uncontrollable, convulsive jump that caused him to land on his side with a huge slap. We were speechless. I had never seen anyone go over in such a heap and he stayed under the water for what seemed an eternity and as we swam to check on him he surfaced. With a loud moan, he yelled out, “I will never start that jump without being totally committed!” Of course, we called him an idiot, and went back to swimming like nothing had ever happened. But something had happened. He showed to me exactly how we as Christians are when we don’t live our life “all in” for Jesus.
In Matthew 8 Jesus was sharing how much power He was giving to those who truly follow Him. In verse 19 a scribe came up and said these well known words. “Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.” Jesus said to him, The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head. Another of the disciples said to Him, “Lord permit me first to go and bury my father.” But Jesus said to him, Follow me, and allow the dead to bury their own dead.”
Basically, Jesus was saying, “dive in!” In other words, you see what I am offering to you but you want it on your own terms. You must accept it on my (Jesus) terms. Believe you me, they had trouble with it then and we have trouble with it today. It’s easy to say, “Lord, I will follow You wherever you say”, but it is tough to totally immerse your entire life with that commitment. I have seen ministers who are what we call “full time” make for sure they are full time in their home town or where it best suits their family demands. That is not diving in. Don’t get me wrong, God can put you in your home area, but you must be willing to move whenever and wherever He says. I served in my home town for a few years and had a great ministry, but it was hard to overcome the stigma of just serving in the easiest place. It was always Andra’s and my desire to serve wherever He sends us and we have basically done that and it has been richly rewarding to our children. You say how can it be rewarding when you move your oldest two children from Missouri to California as small children? How can it be rewarding if you move them back and then move them two more times before they are in middle school? How can it be rewarding if you move your oldest daughter right after her senior year to new place? How can it be rewarding to move your youngest two children at pivotal points in their school lives? One a new college football team and one at the beginning of her senior year? How can it be rewarding to move your wife all over the country and miss numerous special family functions that she longed to be a part of? The only answer is the “promise of Jesus” to take care of those details when we truly dive in.
What would have happened if we had not totally immersed ourselves in serving Christ? We probably would have been miserable, half-hearted, and unhappy at best. The misery of saying, NO to Jesus would have affected our marriage, our children, and everyone we met. The guilt of turning away would have been something we would have carried with us for the rest of our lives……or…..we could change…….
Jesus carries a heavy dose of commitment for each of us who call His Name. But Jesus also carries a heavy dose of forgiveness and revival for those of us who want to change. Keep this in mind. A person who is totally immersed under the water cannot see anything but what they are immersed in….water. Those who don’t stick their head under usually act like are immersed, but they are just WET! Then they talk all about immersion without knowing what they are talking about. Not until someone “dunks them.” If God were to come to you today and say, “you are playing games and talking about something you aren’t living” would you let Him dunk you?
Wisdom says that what my friend said when he slipped off into the water and came up spouting is what we all should say. “I will never start that jump without being totally committed!” Don’t be flippant when making your decision, but keep in mind this scripture. Luke 14:28 “For which one of , when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it?”
If you want to get to the water to be totally immersed in serving the Lord, then you might need diving lessons. Meet Jesus on the high dive in five minutes and you will be free to leap into a whole new life as a totally immersed follower. We have enough unhappy, half hearted committed Christians in this world and in the church. Now is the time to change. Will You?
The Pilgrimage continues….