Wednesday, August 16, 2006

What Would Jesus Do?

Mark 4:3-7 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

3"Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain.

I continue to ponder the challenge of truly following Jesus. It's so easy to skim the surace of the gospels, learning "about" the teachings of Jesus, but another thing to read his words as a disciple; as one who leaves everything behind to follow him; who wants to understand, to learn and to apply his teachings.

I have spent many years reading God's word, but truthfully wonder if, when it comes to Jesus's words, I have been a mere "surface skimmer," although I would not have said that was what I was doing. His words are so radical and challenging but if we read them without any attempt to put them into practice, what is our faith worth? It's our choice how deep we go, how close we follow; he never forces, he offers. God has been so good in spite of my distracted Christianity, but I'm hungry for more.

I'm reminded of the timeless classic by Charles M. Sheldon, "In His Steps," about a well to do church in the nineteenth century, in which a group within the congregation made a commitment to ask themselves in every situation, "What would Jesus do?". This inspiring story shows what a radical step this was. People broke out of the social circles they moved in, found themselves making financially costly ethical decisions and facing opposition from family members.

Any quest to know him, to learn his ways and apply them to a life and heart to a greater degree than ever before is going to be the adventure of a lifetime.

Prayer: Dear Lord, help me to focus on your word, to read it more slowly, allowing it to sink in and change my heart and transform my mind. Nothing on earth is as important. Help me be still long enough to hear your voice speaking through your word.

Mark 4:18-20 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

18 Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 19 but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. 20 Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—thirty, sixty or even a hundred times what was sown."


Cardinella said...

It takes a lifetime to work at understanding scripture. Something you read at 60 will mean something completely different than at 20.

I love the story of WWJD, which is so far removed from what that saying has come to mean, as depicted on those wrist bands kids sometimes wear.

Belinda said...

Yes, the wrist bands are wonderful because the kids are identifying themselves as belonging to Jesus, but maybe reading the book should be a mandatory requirement! :)