I’ll say it – Following Jesus can suck sometimes.
There are times when I would much rather not follow Jesus – mostly because to follow Jesus is often uncomfortable. It is often inconvenient. It flies in the face of the norms of humanity. It means dying to self.
Following Jesus means doing what he says to do. Like love enemies. Like welcome strangers. Like do something for that person seeking help. Like altering my schedule when it is really busy.
There are times when I would rather just put Jesus aside and listen to the excuses my mind can come up with for why I don’t have to do something for someone else. My mind is good at coming up with reason after reason. “It’s not safe” is the whisper. “You’re too busy” is another. “You’ll never see this person again, don’t feel bad” is another one.
There are times when I would rather just completely ignore Jesus – no excuses necessary. Ignorance is bliss supposedly.
Except here’s the thing – I am not ignorant of what Jesus calls on me to do. I have far too much debt from Seminary to pull off the ignorance argument. I know what the Bible says – in Greek and Hebrew none the less.
And as for those times when I would rather put Jesus aside, well, it doesn’t last. Something gets a hold of me. I can’t just pass by. I am compelled to go back if I do pass by. Why? Because that’s what Jesus would do for me and for you.
I don’t always have much to offer. But what I have, I give. Not out of guilt. But because I know no one else will do it and the person I stop to help doesn’t have the luxury of waiting forever. They have a name. They have a life story. They have family. They have loved ones. They are human, just like me.
Following Jesus can suck. But then again, Jesus never said following him was going to make you smell like roses. It will involve death and denial. It will be uncomfortable and inconvenient. But it will also be worth every moment. Following Jesus is about changing the world for the better – one relationship, one person, one action at a time. The world needs Good News. Following Jesus is a way of living out Good News.