Has God taught you the principle yet of leaving your rights with Him? Like a hitter in a baseball game who is given the signal to bunt by his coach, we must look to God to see whether we are to “sacrifice,” or “swing away.” Twenty-three year old Thomas Edison left Boston for New York in 1872. He was a brilliant inventor, but made his living as a teletype operator. Edison went to the Western Union office to seek employment as an inventor, but was told there was no such job. Instead, he was offered a position servicing and updating the teletype machines, which were quite temperamental. He was told by General Marshall Fawcett, “Just go to work, and I’ll settle up with you when we see what you can do.” Many months went by. Finally the General came in and said, “Well, son, how much do you think I owe you?” Edison was skilled with his hands, but ignorant of finances, although he had given the matter some thought. He determined that a thousand dollars would be adequate, but two thousand would be much more fair. He felt three thousand dollars was more than he deserved, but because he desperately needed the money, he decided to ask for five thousand dollars. But before he answered, he remembered the General was noted for his honesty, so at the last moment he asked, “General, what do you think my labor has been worth?” The General said without hesitating, “How does forty thousand dollars sound to you?” Edison said he turned pale, and his lips began to tremble. “F..fi – fine, sir, it sounds just fine.” He learned that day the General’s generosity exceeded his own greed. Those who demand their rights in the Christian life rarely grow. Their walk becomes stagnant and cold. But those who put their rights aside and leave the choices to God grow in grace with giant steps.
“Come, Follow Me” Jesus said as He began to call His first disciples. And it is an invitation that continues to go out to all the nations of the world. “Come, Follow Me”
But what does it mean to follow Jesus. Many churches today around the world equate following Christ with following the rules that are written in scripture. Rules that we struggle hard to keep, and feel guilty about when we don’t, or like many people, simply write off the message of the gospel.
Many people want nothing to due with the church because of the experience many have had with the expectations to follow the rules, and the judgements that followed when they didn’t. But Jesus didn’t come and say, “Follow the rules and be made right”. He simply lays out an invitation to “Come, Follow Me”
Christians all over have gotten things backwards when they think that they have to follow the rules to make God happy. Religion makes the demand “Change, and then you can join us.”
Jesus offers us the opportunity to come to know Him, and to follow Him. Jesus makes the offer “Follow Me, and you will change.” We get it backwards when we think that following the rules makes us acceptable to God. Yes there are many rules listed in scripture. And God does want us to be following them.
The problem comes when we put following the rules ahead of knowing and following Christ. The “fruit “ of following Christ is that we will begin to do what God desires. We will find ourselves keeping the rules without having to push and fight and beat our head against the wall. It will happen as a natural outcome of us following Jesus.
When we put our focus on following the rules, we end up not following Jesus and always put the cart before the horse which always is a lot more work. Jesus extends His hand to us all and invites us to “Come, Follow Me”