The process of discipleship

Monday Musings for March 29, 2021

Good morning, Musers,

People are great at sticking their hands up in public meetings and volunteering to do things. Most, however, are not so great at completing their projects. The middle, it seems — the part between shooting your mouth off for public benefit and the completion of the project — is many times more difficult than they imagined it would be.

We find this in the work world too. Some people claim to have a job… but this is different from having work. The first claim is to a title, and the second implies horsepower. I’m the type of person that always enjoyed “doing” the work. Without the boots on the ground, the world is a place of ideas rather than accomplishments. Here’s why that distinction is important.

We don’t serve Christ in a vacuum; we do the kingdom’s work by performing mundane tasks in the physical world. Professional ministers are much in the minority in the kingdom of God. Most of the work gets done by people who have not merely taken on job descriptions; they are burdened to do the work... and the work is not always glorious.

When I get to church, someone has already cleared away the snow. Some people are manning the AV stations. Some people are setting up the children’s programs. Some people have bought food and clothes to aid in our relief work and some have visited the sick and the shut-ins during the week. These jobs may or may not come with titles. But they absolutely come with work. If God’s people do not make personal sacrifices, the work that Jesus wants done won’t get done.

Do you remember what King David told Araunah, the man who owned the land that eventually housed the temple? David wanted the buy that land, but Araunah wanted to give it to the King for free. David said, “No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” (2 Samuel 24:24).

Now, I’m not telling you to add expenses and burdens to your work that do not belong to it naturally… thinking that if you add extra burdens to your tasks that God will be impressed. He won’t. God wants you to shoulder your burdens — but the right burdens in the right way.

Now, everyone wears a yoke… whether they realize it or not. And, although Jesus promised to make us free (John 8:36), he did not promise to free us from being yoked. What he did do, however, was to offer an alternative.

“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:29–30, NIV, Emphases mine)

So, Jesus offered us freedom… but it was freedom with a hitch… literally! We would be free from the burdens particular to the world but not from burdens altogether. He promised that his yoke would be easy and his burdens would be light — and so far he’s right! I’d never go back!

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