Quoted from an old Relevant 850 that I found in my inbox:
Anyone who says that it is easy to follow Jesus is a liar. He Himself said that the way is narrow. But nothing we forgo in the cause of Christ – wealth, popularity, kudos, not even our very lives – can come anywhere close to the return. The way of discipleship – of covenant commitment and sacrificial worship – is costly and hard.
I was giving a friend a lift in my car one time, and we got to talking about life. “I don’t know what God’s calling me to do,” he confessed, and asked me to pray about what it might be.
“Why?” I asked. “I already know what Jesus wants you to do!”
“You do?” he gasped with ill-concealed excitement. “So, what is it? What’s my call?”
I paused, enjoying the suspense. Drums rolled. String quartets tuned up. My friend held his breath.
“Your call,” I said slowly, “is to be a worship leader.”
He looked pleased, really pleased, so I continued: “…but not necessarily with a guitar in your hand.”
“Okayyy,” he murmured.
“Your call is to befriend that funny little lady at the end of your street…”
He seemed less pleased with this prospect.
“Your call is to feed the hungry and to spend yourself on behalf of the poor…”
By now he was looking distinctly troubled.
“…and to offer hospitality to strangers who just turn up in town needing a place to crash.”
“And it’s to fast.”
He was starting to look furious.
“And it’s to pray so long and hard that you run out of words and tears.”
There was no going back: “Your call,” I continued, “is to preach the good news of Jesus to every person who will listen and a few who won’t. Your call is to go somewhere, anywhere, wherever, whenever, for Jesus, and never stop. Your call is to love people no one else loves and to forgive them when they treat you like dirt˜or worse. Do your job to the very best of your ability without grumbling about your boss or whining about your colleagues. Your call is to pray for the sick, and when they are healed, to dance all night. And when they aren’t, to weep with them and love them even more.”
I glanced across at him and was relieved to see that his expression was beginning to mellow.
“Your call is to honor your parents, pray for your leaders, study the Scriptures and attend plenty of parties. Be a peacemaker in every situation: when the fight breaks out on the bus home late at night and when the gossip starts to circulate at church. Your call is to pick up litter in the street when no one else is looking, to wipe the toilet seat, to pull the gum off from under the desk. It’s to get to meetings early to put out the chairs.”
By now he was smiling.
“Your call is to make disciples and to teach them to obey everything Jesus commanded. And don’t forget to minister grace to them when they sin. Which they will. Your mission is to baptize and to cast out evil spirits. Your call is to bind up broken hearts wherever you find them, and you will find them wherever you look. It’s to visit prisons. And
hospitals. And to…”
“Yeah, yeah,” he interrupted good naturedly, trying to shut me up, but I was on a roll – and I knew he couldn’t leave, because I was driving the car.
“Your call,” I continued resolutely, “is to listen more than you talk and to listen with your eyes as well as your ears.”
He was shaking his head in mock despair. I carried on: “It’s to do the chores again and again without grumbling. It’s to buy ethical coffee and to recycle your bottles. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to leave anonymous gifts on people’s doorsteps.”
By now we were both laughing, and I was finally running out of steam: “And when you’ve done all that,” I grinned, jabbing him in the ribs at each syllable, “come back and see me, and we can spend a little time praying about phase two!”
The problem for most of us is not that we don’t know what God wants of us. It’s that we know exactly what He wants of us, and it’s not what we want to do! When my wife Samie calls the kids to switch off the TV and come for dinner, they generally don’t hear until at least the third time of asking. But in our house, there appears to be a mysterious acoustical phenomenon whereby the call to come for ice cream, issued in a quieter voice, carries down the hallway so that the kids hear immediately and come running right away.
General William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, once turned to a young man who claimed not to have had a call from God. “What?” he bellowed, fixing him with his piercing eyes: “You’ve never had a call? You mean you’ve never heard the call!”
Christ’s call to discipleship is written large on every single page of the New Testament. We are quick – like my kids who come running for ice-cream – to respond to His offer of love, healing, forgiveness, significance and friendship, but slow to hear His call to do the things we do not want to do-big or small, and to go to the places and people we
would rather avoid. We know Jesus as Friend, we trust Him as Savior, but only reluctantly do we obey Him as Lord.