Journal Entry December 10, 2005

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Today's "On Track" Reading Begins At
Matthew 4:22

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They Immediately Left the Ship
And Their Father
And Followed Him....
(Matthew 4:22)
 
God told me to leave a prestigious, well-paying job and serve him full time--he didn't make it an easy choice (by opening any doors where I would receive financial compensation for my time and efforts)--he simply made it very clear that my time, talents and efforts were to be expended for his glory and in the work of his Kingdom--period.
 
And the time frame he gave me to act upon his call to, "come folliow me," was very short--immediate in fact.
 
I never put in another hour for the company I worked for, and within 48 hours of receiving the call, I officially resigned.
 
I have never regretted it.
 
But what if it had been my Mother or my Father's business I was working for and they had depended on me, even pressured me, to stay with the family business.
 
What if Jesus had required me to walk away from my parents?
 
Can you imagine what the Father of James and John must have been feeling when his sons simply walked away from, not only the family business but, him?
 
Did he try and persuade them not to make such a foolish choice? Did he become angry with them or ridicule them?
 
Did he threaten to disinherit them?
 
They were called the "Sons of Thunder." Why? Was it because their Father was known for having a thunderous temper?
 
They left the boat--and their Father.
 
How difficult did their Father make that choice for them?
 
Whatever the case, the fact remains--they left.
 
That could not have been an easy  choice for the brothers to make.
 
We know the rest of the story
And their choice is now applauded...  
 
But who applauded it then?

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True Story
of a Man Who Used His Father
As An Excuse Not To Follow Christ
 
In Matthew 8:21-22, Jesus nipped the excuse, of not serving him because of parental obligation, in the bud--he wasn't having any of it.
 
I knew a man who, after coming to Christ, needed some intensive discipleship. His life had been devastated by criminal activity, drug addiction and various other strongholds.
 
He agreed that he needed to enroll in a long term Christian Rehab/discipleship program and began the process of following the call of Jesus to forsake all and follow him.
 
I felt very strongly that the Holy Spirit was instructing me to give the chaplain (that was helping this man) some scripture references for him (with instructions to give it to him only if he appeared to be faltering in his resolve to leave all and follow Christ).
 
I wrote the scriptures on a sheet of paper and left them with the Chaplain in a sealed envelope.
 
The scripture was the one where Jesus issued a call to a prospective disciple, and the man said, "let me go and bury my Father first."
 
Jesus said, "Let the dead bury the dead..."
You Follow Me
 
Jesus went on to say that no one having put their hand to the plow (of following and serving him), and then looks back is worthy of him.
 
These two scriptures were in the sealed envelope that the man in question never laid eyes on, because he used his ailing Father as an excuse to not even show up for his final appointment with the Chaplain.
 
What is the end of this story?
 
The man's Father died in less than one month
But this man did not get to bury his Father
 
You see, he walked out on Jesus and took a job which placed him on the West coast, which was where he was at when his Father (who lived on the East coast) died.
 
It was going to take him several days to make it to the East coast for the funeral (he did not have the money for plane fare), and his step-mother refused to hold the funeral until he arrived.
 
She buried his Father without him.
 
Had he refused to use his Father as an excuse not to follow Jesus, he would have been a mere 8 hours away (and also would have had assistance in getting to the funeral).
 
He would have been able to bury his Father.
 
Sometimes Jesus will deal with us for years to follow him...
 
Sometimes he will ask only once
 
Either way, he is clear on what he thinks of those who use familial obligations not to follow him:
 
He says they, " are not worthy" of him

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Be careful what you eat...

               ... to the hungry soul, every bitter thing is sweet

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