There are so many Christian brothers and sisters in my life who are examples of the kind of person I want to be. Some of them, like Francis Chan, don’t even know who I am but I treasure their living sacrifices nonetheless. Some of these people are shining examples of fiscal faithfulness and missionary courage. Others live a more common, but no less inspiring, courage to live day-to-day in the face of addiction, divorce, and financial stress.
I was talking to my wife in the kitchen about these people, particularly Pastor Chan, and for some reason I blurted out, “The only thing stopping me from being like Francis Chan is me.” I could be like him, if I let myself be. Isn’t this the struggle we all face? We could all be more like Jesus if we would let ourselves be. But we don’t!
This is so important you guys! There is nothing stopping us from imitating Jesus but our own fears and reservations. Fears over our well-being. Fears about whether we’ll be taken care of in our old age. Fears about what our mothers and fathers will think of us and say to us. The more I think about this as I write, the more Scripture verses pop into my head! Jesus knew we would struggle with seeking the kingdom first…which is why He laid a trail of breadcrumbs through Scripture to help us find the answers to our fears.
Worried about whether you will be OK if you give your money away? Think about this: “Seek first the kingdom of God, and all these things (clothes, food, etc.) will be given to you as well.”
Worried about whether you will be taken care of in your old age? Maybe your goal shouldn’t be to live so long that you outlive your resources. Maybe we should all follow the example of Jesus and the Apostles instead…
Worried about what your mother and father will say? Try this on for size: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.”
I know this is all easier said than done. But isn’t that why God sent us His Holy Spirit? To give us the strength to do what we cannot do on our own?
Father, help us to understand this calling clearly, and to clearly hear Your voice and to understand and do Your will in our lives. Help us to get out of our own way to be more like your Son, Jesus. Thank you, Father, for putting people in my life like Francis Chan, my wife, my mother-in-law, and my friend Chris to serve as examples of the kind of person you want me to be. Thank you for giving us the strength and courage to spread Your Word in love. Amen.