Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

Meditation for the week of March 5, 2006

Mark 10:21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.

Following the Lord is not easy. Salvation is easy once we repent which again is not easy. God wants all men everywhere to repent (Acts 17:30) but since not all men see their need of a Savior and since most people feel that in some way they can save themselves, they have no need to “trust” wholly in Christ to save them. Others see this need but they count the cost of trusting in the Lord, since one of those costs is to deny self and to follow Him.

The call to follow is the call for service and some wonder if they have missed that call. Peter was called from his fishing nets (Matthew 4:19), he was called when he confessed that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God (Matthew 16:24) and he was called when he met the Lord after the resurrection and had to confess his failure to love the Lord as he thought he could and would (John 21:19). His call was repeated and reaffirmed, so I really don’t think we can miss our call if we want to hear it. When our parents called us as kids to do a chore, I never saw my parents give up if I didn’t respond to their first call and I suspect that the same is true of the Lord.

The individual in our story (who is called a ruler in Luke 18), apparently counted the cost and “went away” in verse 22. First, he didn’t understand Who the Lord was. He thought He was good but didn’t realize He was God. That is why the Lord asks, “Why callest thou me good?” Second, he didn’t understand that he was not good. He thought he had kept the commandments from his youth. Third, he didn’t understand the cost of following the Lord. I suspect this man thought he had something to offer the Lord since he was rich and he was a ruler. He would be a good contact that could help promote the Lord’s ministry if the Lord was into “networking”. But unfortunately, the Lord’s program requires us to die to self to live for Christ and the ruler was not willing to do this. He wanted the Lord and his current life style.

Many people plan on following the Lord when the time is right. One man wanted to follow the Lord but first he wanted to “bury his father” (Luke 9:59). I suspect that means that he wanted to take care of his father until he died and then he would have an inheritance which he could use while following the Lord. Another wanted to bid his family farewell before following the Lord (Luke 9:61). Of course, his going away party in that society would likely have provided him with some needed gifts to allow him to serve the Lord. And it would also have given his family the opportunity to talk him out of such a drastic move. I doubt that the time was ever right for these two.

Peter said they had left all and had followed Him (Mark 10:28). The Lord makes it clear that there will be blessing in this present time and blessing for eternity when we do that. Unfortunately, we have to take up our crosses and follow him before we get the blessing. We don’t get the blessing and then take up our crosses and follow him.

I have often wondered if I am really following the Lord or am I in my religious self-righteous way just doing that which makes sense to me and pleases me? Have I just converted my worldly plans to religious ones or have I really been willing to deny self in order to serve the Lord? Does my life consist of my plans and my goals? Or do I live by faith, not knowing where that is going to take me (Hebrews 11:8) even though I know Who will be leading me on the trip?

Bruce Collins

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