The Calling of Reconciliation
Psalm 53, John 1:35-51
On Tuesday Josh and Jennifer were explaining Lent to Jon-Mical and Jakson. They were telling the boys how some people traditionally give something up for the 40 days from Ash Wednesday to Easter to honor the sacrifice that Jesus made for us on the cross. Jon-Mical, who has a great spiritual heart for a 3rd grader, and who loves Dr. Pepper, said, “I will give up all soft drinks for Lent.” Jakson was thoughtful for a while and finally announced, “I’m going to give up school.” Nice try Jakson. Didn’t Benjamin Franklin say, “Nothing is certain except death, taxes and kindergarten?”
There are some things we just can’t opt out of. Ford or Chevy, boxers or briefs, to coupon or not to coupon, all are choices we get to make. Other things, like taking out the trash when your wife tells you are just not optional.
In the last part of John chapter 1 Jesus starts picking his guys. He picks Andrew off John the Baptist’s team. He signs Simon Peter from the waiver wire and he picks Phillip and Nathaniel for a 2nd round draft choice. Okay, I’m getting carried away. The point is Jesus calls and they don’t opt out. They follow. They have a say in the matter and they choose to go. The cool thing is that 2 millennia later He is still calling. And we still have a choice. We might feel like Jakson some days and rather stay home but most days we “take up our cross” and follow willingly, even joyfully. What a wonderful thing.
Now here’s the deal. We can choose whether or not to follow, but when we say yes, our ability to pick is narrowed. It means something, or somethings, to be a Christ follower, or at least it should. When I have a JESUS bumper sticker I can’t be flipping the guy off in traffic. When I am inviting my office worker to church with me I can’t be bad mouthing the boss in the breakroom. This is not about legalism or some arbitrary set of rules. It’s not even about being saved or not. It’s about answering the call. Follow or not follow, that’s an option. Living for and like Christ as a genuine disciple, my responsibility increases and my marching orders are, well, ordered.
Here’s one example, 2 Corinthians 5:18, Paul says, “All of this is from God who reconciled us unto Himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.” It seems to me that when we choose to be Christ followers we agree to take on the ministry of reconciliation. I still get to pick my political affiliations, my college football allegiance, and my favorite Bachelor. What I can’t do is choose to be belligerent, bitter or berating. I am called to the “ministry of reconciliation.” (On a side note, Facebook does not seem to be dedicated to the ministry of reconciliation. Just sayin’) In other words, as someone dedicated to Christ and to His Kingdom, you can choose to disagree with me but you can’t be mean about it. At least that’s the way I choose to see it.
Now…am I going to work today or not?
PS Remember this go around we are not doing the devotionals on the weekends. Keep reading the Bible choices: Saturday Psalm 54 and John 2:1-11 (Happy Birthday Chonda), Sunday Psalm 55 and John 2:12-25. And keep praying. See you Monday!