Today’s Reading: Matthew 16:13-17:9 (additional reading: Psalm 21:1-13 & Proverbs 5:1-6)
Back in 1884 John Henry Patterson formed the National Cash Register Co. and he led the company to prominence and profitability. He made it successful because he paid attention to details and kept an eye on each dept. in the company. At one point, it became apparent that the factory was having a high number of burglaries. Patterson was convinced that the security staff was not doing their job. So, one night, he put on a phosphorescent suit and rode up to the plant on a white horse. He jimmied opened the door to the tool room, helped himself to several spare parts and rode off, without being challenged. The next morning, he replaced the security staff. Now, why did Patterson replace the security staff? He did that because they weren’t doing their job. They weren’t paying attention and they weren’t committed.
Commitment is a dying reality in our world today. There are signs of dying commitment all around us. Marriages are breaking up left and right, commitment to attend events (such as weddings) continues to lower and people are becoming less and less willing to join organizations because of the additional commitment. Many people feel that they have fewer close friends than adults of past decades and membership clubs are seeing fewer and fewer new members due to multi-purchase commitments.
Jim Elliot said “Wherever you are be all there. Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God”. We have been called to be a different kind of people in this world. We have been called to live a life committed to following Jesus. We have been called to become radical.
In today’s reading we can see that 1. Jesus was committed to go where He was not wanted, 2. Jesus was committed to suffer for a people who rejected Him, 3. Jesus was committed to die for a lost world and 4. Jesus was committed to the ultimate victory. In verse 24 Jesus gives us the “Command for Radical Commitment:” “Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” There is no such thing as low cost grace. There is no such thing as low cost Christianity. Jesus is calling you to an all or nothing deal; He wants all of your life. Following Jesus costs you a life that is dying in exchange for a life that never ends. Following Jesus costs you a life of bondage in exchange for a life of freedom. Following Jesus costs you a life that is cursed in exchange for a life that is blessed. All in all this doesn’t sound so bad.