Wednesday, February 23, 2011

All For…

“He said to them, ‘Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.’ At once they left their nets and followed him.” Matthew 4: 19-20

Can you imagine? A guy (maybe you’ve never seen before) walks into your school or place of work, tells a couple of your friends or co-workers to follow him and they drop their school books, or project and immediately leave with him. No explanation, no thought of what lies ahead, no thought of what people might think—they just go! People would think they were crazy. And maybe you would too.

But this is a story that repeats itself in more than one of the Gospels and in more than one situation with different people. And I think we can glean a couple of points for reflection from this. First of all, it appears to me that while Jesus never does things out of panic, or in a rush, He maintains an urgency in all that He does. Whether it is with the fishermen or the rich, young man, He calls them to follow Him NOW. He doesn’t want people who are going to put their hand to the plough and look back or even those who want to bury the dead first. I think He knows His own time on this earth to deliver His message was short, but more importantly, I think He understands how our time on this earth is short compared to eternity and He wants us to live and act with this same urgency, knowing that we have less days than we imagine to become holy and to bring others to Him.

I think we can also see that Jesus wants us to LET GO. This is signified by the fishermen who let go of their nets, or the young man that was supposed to sell his possessions and let go of the money by giving it to the poor. Perhaps the man who wanted to bury his dead was being asked to let go of the shovel. But so often we are hindered in following Jesus because we don’t let go. Maybe we desire to follow Him right away, but then we keep holding on to our past, our sins, our pain, and our regrets. Or maybe we hold onto our dreams and our plans for our lives and our futures. Perhaps we want to follow Jesus, but at the same time continue to listen to the same music we listened to before He called us, or keep watching the same movies, or keep hanging out with the same people. And perhaps we need to let go of everything, even those things near and dear to us, not so much because Jesus wants to take them away for good, but so that we can see all the more what He wants to give us. Perhaps we will never be able to fully appreciate what we have if we are not willing to even consider letting go of it.

Once we are willing to let go of everything and follow Jesus immediately, then I think we are capable of living all for Him. From that point on everything we do will be all for Jesus, all for His glory, all for the redemption of souls, all for the salvation of the world. We will cease thinking of ourselves primarily and begin to think first of Jesus and our neighbor and how every act, no matter how small or insignificant, can be offered all for Jesus to be used to merit grace for the world. And so in this way, our little lives become eternally significant. Our small dash in the history of mankind becomes invaluable for another’s redemption. Our small, daily duties offered for others to Jesus become irreplaceable gifts in the salvation history of the world. Our mission ceases to end with ourselves and our own needs, but extends through time and space to the needs of all of our brothers and sisters throughout the world.

Dear Jesus, I want to live all for You! Help me to let go of anything that keeps me from doing this and help me to follow You immediately and wholeheartedly at every moment. And please help me to cooperate with Your grace to merit grace for others through each of my daily duties. Amen.

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