I have been thinking about control these days. Am I in control of my life? Where am I going? What are my plans? What road am I on?
I was reminded last week of this verse...
Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. (Mark 8:34)deny... take up ...and follow
...and I began thinking about what it means to follow Jesus, really follow, not just words ...but like Matthew did.
As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector's booth. "Follow me," he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him. (Matthew 9:9)
Get up and GoIs it that straight forward? I mean really. Just get up and go... and follow? The scripture doesn't reveal what kind of thoughts went through Matthew's head. Had he been thinking about following Jesus? Did he plan for that moment? Had he already decided this was the course of action? Did he think about how different things were going to be? Did he have any idea? Perhaps, we don't know. But we do know what God wanted us to know about Matthew and his response to Jesus. He "got up and followed him."
As I read in the Bible all the accounts written about Jesus and those who followed him I am struck at just how real it was to follow Jesus. It wasn't simply an intellectual exercise as I have so often mistakenly narrowed it down to. It wasn't only associating oneself with a group of people and their beliefs. It wasn't just picking a religion. It was much more encompassing, much more real.
It was about real life action. Real work, real steps, real effort, but with a focus outside of oneself. A focus on Jesus.