Summary: As much as Jesus calls for complete surrender, he also makes that call of ordinary people - putting discipleship within all of our grasp
The Flip Side of Discipleship
Here are some actual maintenance complaints submitted by US Air Force pilots and the replies from the maintenance crews.
Problem: "Left inside main tire almost needs replacement."
Solution: "Almost replaced left inside main tire."
Problem: "Test flight OK, except autoland very rough."
Solution: "Autoland not installed on this aircraft."
Problem #1: "#2 Propeller seeping prop fluid."
Solution #1: "#2 Propeller seepage normal."
Problem #2: "#1, #3, and #4 propellers lack normal seepage."
Problem: "The autopilot doesn’t."
Signed off: "IT DOES NOW."
Problem: "Something loose in cockpit."
Solution: "Something tightened in cockpit."
Problem: "Evidence of hydraulic leak on right main landing gear."
Solution: "Evidence removed."
Problem: "Number three engine missing."
Solution: "Engine found on right wing after brief search."
Problem: "DME volume unbelievably loud."
Solution: "Volume set to more believable level."
Problem: IFF inoperative.
Solution: IFF inoperative in OFF mode.
Problem: Friction locks cause throttle levers to stick.
Solution: That’s what they’re there for.
Where there is a lack of clarity there is always confusion and the potential for misunderstanding. Last week as we looked at the story of the rich young man coming to Jesus seeking eternal life we saw that there was no room for confusion as to what Jesus was seeking. There could be no mistaking Jesus call to him.
The story of the rich man who came seeking eternal life is challenging and confronting. Because Jesus called him to devotion and surrender – he got more than he bargained for – and when he refused Jesus allowed him walk away. It makes us wonder what would Jesus say to us and how might we respond? I know some of you have been grappling with that question this week – and it’s a good question to grapple with.
A short summary of last week would be that Jesus is seeking followers not fans – disciples not admirers. That its easy to say ‘yay Jesus’ – its much different to say ‘yes Jesus’. In fact its world’s apart.
In the story we see a Jesus who doesn’t have ‘levels’ of followers. He doesn’t have the dedicated and the recreational and the occasional. He only has one bar that he calls us all to jump. That bar is complete devotion to him that shows in obedience to whatever he asks.
And the Jesus we see in that story is a Jesus who loves us – a Jesus who calls us to follow him with simple childlike faith that trusts his love and obeys his call on our lives wherever that may lead. That’s what it means to be a disciple.
And as much as we can read that and know that – and maybe have read it umpteen times, its still a daunting thing to genuinely be a follower of Jesus – to say ‘yeh that’s me!’
You could feel overwhelmed – you could feel like you will never get there – you could feel like just giving up perhaps.
If you feel that to some degree then you’ve probably grasped some of the significance of what Jesus is asking. It is a big call. And I put it out there as starkly and as unrestrained as I did last week because that is what he asks. That’s what the Bible says – no matter how we might like to soften it. Jesus does call us to a life of surrender and devotion – to a life of submission to him – we cannot ever shake the truth of that and neither should we want to I’d like to say. That is where real life is found.
And yet reality is that we can’t do it. Let’s just admit it. That’s the truth – we can’t do it – we can never fully be the people Jesus calls us to be – not while there is sin in our lives – not while there is a hint of self centredness. So we live in this place between what he calls us to and what reality is. It’s a place that can be uncomfortable.
Guilt – We can feel guilty because we aren’t ‘good enough’ – we can feel like we never make it and we are always disappointing God. We can beat ourselves up because we are such lousy disciples. Ever do that!? Walk around with a load of guilt feeling like the world’s worst Christian?
Work Harder – Or you can try harder – you bust your gut and work harder and harder to try and be the person God calls you to be and in the end you maybe even feel like you have made some progress. In fact you might even feel quite proud of the progress you have made compared to some of those other people who just don’t even seem to care. Losers! Ooopps!… Would that be my pride showing?