Thursday, March 19, 2009

Student Devotions - Making Sense Of It All

Good morning students,

I do not want to hear any complaints from Montreal about your temperature today. It is currently -17 with an expected high of - 15 in Mistissini. I am looking at Montreal with a current temperature of 3 and an expect high of 6. I forgot my winter gloves.

We are continuing with Luke 9 today, looking specifically at the last few verses. There is a bit of confusion from some people concerning what Jesus says here about being his follower. To one man he says that he has nothing to offer him in the way of physical comfort and to two others he tells not to allow traditions to get in the way of making that decision to follow.

So the first one is straight forward and we can accept it although we may not like the thought of it. We hear a lot of preachers preaching riches and fame but the fact is Jesus never promised "a rose garden" to those who chose to follow him. In fact he did the opposite. He warned that following him would divide some families and invite a lot of opposition. What Jesus promised us is of greater value than "creature comforts". You may look around and think you have it pretty good but we have all lived in a time where Christian values have been the majority. Although we are still the majority we are less so, and the number keeps falling. Soon we will be in the minority as we are in Quebec and then we will have a very difficult time to stand according to our beliefs. It will begin to cost us to be a follower.

Some people are confused by Jesus' response to the other two people. One asks to go bury his father and the other to go say goodbye to his family. On the surface it sounds strange that Jesus would have a problem with that. It is only when you study and discover that these things had to do with traditions at that time. The man's father was not dead. He was telling Jesus that he would follow him after his father dies which could be twenty years from then. Jesus was saying that we cannot allow traditions to be an excuse not to be obedient to our calling. He was also saying that following him requires complete dedication so there is no time to look backwards and long for former times as the Israelites had done in the desert. He either has all of our heart or he has none of it.

This should not surprise us considering the other things Jesus taught on this subject. When his family came to rescue him from what they thought was his lunacy he stated that those who followed him were his brothers, sisters and mother. When he was speaking of dedication he stated that if our love for him did not make all other love seem like hate then we were not worthy to follow. We should understand this considering the greatest commandment is to love God with that very same passion.

I am not sure that we see very much of that passion in the followers of Jesus any more. Could it be that we are too busy looking for fancy pillows to lay down on? It seems we do a lot of chasing after wealth in the current times. A lot of people are worried about money, all the time. It certainly robs us of our passion. In fact we can become passionate about things that we shouldn't. But it is not just about money. We can transfer our passion to any number of things that rob us of that single-mindedness for Jesus.

Your generation inparticular has a major challenge ahead of you. There has been no generation before you that has so much. You have all the comforts, all the opportunities, all the abilities, all the toys, all the equipment, all the information and knowledge. Yet, it all seems to confuse you. You are like little children in a candy store just turning around in circles because you do not know what to pick first. You lack direction, which is exactly where the enemy wants you.

Let me encourage you to start with Jesus. After you make that decision then the priorities will start falling into place. You will begin to understand what is important and what is simply trivial. Direction will start to form and you will stop your spinning in the middle of the room. Until you make that decision some of you will continue with the "everything is pointless" attitude and will not make any sense of the future. Please, trust us on this; it all starts with Jesus because it is all about Jesus.

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