Yesterday, we read the Bible passage about Jesus calling his first disciples (Mark 1:14-20. Read it here: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/? search=Mark+1%3A14-20&version=NRSV)
I've read this passage many times but it always strikes me again: These people have only just met Jesus. He has been walking around Galilee, talking about the kingdom of God being near and inviting people to change their lives and believe in the good news. Then he sees a few men fishing and invites them to follow him. And they do. Immediately. No questions asked. They leave their livelihood, their homes and their families behind to follow an itinerant preacher.
Jesus must have been pretty convincing! The question I ask myself is, what does that mean for us today who call ourselves Christians, followers of Jesus Christ? How far are we willing to follow Jesus and what are we willing to leave behind for him? There are lots of different ways of interpreting what "following Jesus" means. Many of us probably pick and choose what feels right for us and what we can manage. We have lots of reasons why we can't leave our homes and our families behind. But what can we do? What risks can we take in order to follow Jesus? Where is he calling us?
Lots of questions for you today and no answers. Just an invitation for you to think about this: How far am I willing to follow Jesus? What risks am I willing to take, what am I willing to leave behind? Maybe not material goods so much as habits, behaviors, thought patterns? My personal attempt is not to judge. Jesus was a role model of accepting people for who they are and where they are in life. He corrected some of their behaviors but he never judged a person. It's so easy for our mind to go there, when we disagree with someone or we just don't get them. We judge. We shake our heads, we sneer or laugh. Even though we don't know what they're going through or what experiences may have shaped them. So instead of judging them, we could ask: "Why do you say that? Tell me more about that. What made you decide to do that?"
That's my personal attempt at following Jesus: Accepting people for who they are and where they are in life. This doesn't mean I agree with everything they say or condone everything they do. It just means I respect them as a person and leave the judging up to God.
What is your attempt at following Jesus?