You Want Me to Do What?
Greetings, fellow disciples of Jesus,
Following Jesus isn’t easy. As G.K. Chesterton wrote in his book, What’s Wrong with the World,
“The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting;
it has been found difficult and left untried.”
That was true when Chesterton wrote it one hundred years ago; true when Jesus called the fishermen to drop their nets and follow him two thousand years ago; true today.
I thought about this recently when I read Isaiah 20 as part of our daily reading of the prophets. The LORD came to Isaiah and told him to “loose” his clothes and remove his sandals. That’s right, God told Isaiah to go around naked and unshod…for three years. This was a visual prophecy of what would happen to Egypt and Ethiopia—enslavement by Assyria. (The kicker is that this prophecy wasn’t fulfilled until forty years or so later!)
This was neither the first time nor the last that God would ask a prophet to do something “outside the box” of conventional societal behavior. Prophets in God’s service were sometimes asked to engage in something akin to performance art; stuff that would catch the attention and raise the eyebrows of those who saw it. Remember John the Baptist’s attire and diet? Let’s just say he was not eating grasshoppers because they were tasty.
Following Jesus isn’t easy. He commands us to love our enemies. He tells us to repeatedly forgive those who repeatedly sin against us. He calls us to deny ourselves and take up our cross of suffering. This isn’t “fun.” It isn’t “easy.”
When Jesus asks us to drop what we’re doing to help our neighbor, it is not convenient; yet, at least we get to wear shoes while doing it. We may feel embarrassed to share the gospel with a coworker or family member—we may feel quite exposed and vulnerable—however, at least we get to do it fully dressed!
Moreover, along with Isaiah, we follow God’s call fully confident that Jesus is with us. We may feel like “fools for the sake of Christ” (1 Corinthians 4:10), but at least we’re in good company!
Question to Ponder: What is Jesus calling you to do?
Following Jesus with you,