Come Follow Me
“If anyone would follow me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.” Matthew 16:24-25
Have you lost anything recently? Winter is a great time for losing gloves, hats, scarves. Spring and summer seem to be seasons for losing sunglasses, keys, suntan lotion, towels at the swimming pool or lake. If it has been raining and then stops, we sometimes forget to pick up umbrellas that we have taken with us. “Lost and Found” boxes have a lot of stories to tell about articles left behind and then picked up by another. Often those articles are never claimed and then end up either in recycling boxes or the garbage – after all what good is one glove? A few years ago someone in Sarnia lost a great amount of money that was picked up by an honest person who took it to the police station. The money find was advertised in the newspapers but after a month, no one had stepped up to claim their lost money which had been found. The honest person who found the money was given the money by the police.
When we lose something that is precious, we often scour the house, car, and recent places we have been where we might have left or dropped the article. Sometimes we are fortunate and find that which was lost. Often though, if after an initial search we can’t find the item, we either forget about it and clear our minds of the loss, or simply replace it with something new. At other times however we may not be aware for a long time that we have lost something that is important to us and then, because we do not see it or make use of it for a prolonged period of time, it becomes inconsequential in our life, holding no value or meaning for us, even though it may have had great value at one point.
When Jesus calls us in the water of our Baptism to be His child, He gives us something of unsurpassable value - new life in Christ and eternal salvation. Unfortunately, what may begin as a wonderful faith relationship with our Lord can be lost to the cares of the world around us. What is so tragic is that it is happening to so many children of God these days! Jesus’ call to follow Him, involves the sacrifice of your life to His will and leadership; His values and the worship of Him as the Lord of your life.
Like a lost item there are those who care about you when you get lost from the family of faith and who do try and help you be found by the Spirit of God again and restored to the family of faith. But so many who are being lost wander away, or resist efforts to hear Jesus’ loving call to return, to repent of waywardness and find their loving place again within the family. Unfortunately, it is not until many need Christ and His church in crisis situations, that they wander back to where they last remembered touching the Lord and His love for them at a local church. When they do, it is the hope and prayer of those who know them, that God’s love will restore them to the family of faith beyond the moment of need.
Jesus says if you would save your life, you must understand that real life is more than
just for this world - in Him it is also for all eternity in heaven. If you would have this life
you must surrender your life to Him and follow Him in faith as Lord of your life. If you do
not, you will lose your life - the life God wants to give you.
The shame in this is that the world thinks that you can replace your lost life in the family of faith with so many other things that it has to offer like, family, money, the glitz and glitter of high living and self-indulgent life styles. The truth is that this is a sham, a blatant lie, our God says. What the world offers does not stand up to the test of God’s scrutiny of your life and His judgment on it. In a recent study of a number of suntan lotions, most did not meet the standards they advertised and even the more expensive ones did far less than a bottle that was advertised at lower levels of blocking UV rays and costing dollars less as well.
Jesus urges us all again to hold on to the treasure of our life of faith with Him, worshiping Him as the family of God is called to do, where the word and sacraments can strengthen us in that faith.
May God help us to not be lost in the world and from His heaven; but, to ever be held in His love and grace, serving Him as a growing child of God with His love at the center of all that we are.
~ Pastor Roger