Daily Reading & Meditation

Monday (July 1): "Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go"

Scripture: Matthew 8:18-22

18 Now when Jesus saw great crowds around him, he gave orders to go over to the other side. 19 And a scribe came up and said to him, "Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go."  20 And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man has nowhere to lay his head." 21 Another of the disciples said to him, "Lord, let me first go and bury my father." 22 But Jesus said to him, "Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead."

Meditation: Have you ever been drafted for a special service assignment away from home? Duty to country, kin, or church may call some of us to leave our familiar surroundings in order to serve elsewhere. When the Lord Jesus announced that the coming of God's kingdom was imminent, he urged his listeners to not only heed his teaching but to follow in his footsteps as well. Jesus had a mission to accomplish and he wanted disciples who would join with him in proclaiming the coming of God's kingdom.

One prospective follower, a scribe who was an expert in the law of God, paid Jesus the highest compliment he knew. He called Jesus “teacher”. Jesus advised this would-be follower: Before you follow me, think what you are about to do and count the cost. A disciple must be willing to part with anything that might stand in the way of following Jesus as Teacher and Master. Another would-be disciple responded by saying that he must first bury his father, that is go back home and take care of his father until he died. This disciple was not yet ready to count the cost of  following Jesus. Jesus appealed to the man’s heart to choose for God's kingdom first and to detach himself from anything that might keep him from following the Lord.

The Lord Jesus calls each one of us personally by name and he invies us to follow him as our Lord, Teacher, and Master. He invites us into a personal relationship of love and friendship, trust and commitment. The love of God frees us from attachments to other things so we can give ourselves freely to God for his glory and for his kingdom. It was love that compelled the Lord Jesus to lay down his life for us. And he calls us in love to give our all for him.

What can keep us from giving our all to God? Fear, self-concern, pre-occupation, and attachment to other things. Even spiritual things can get in the way of having God alone as our Treasure if we put them first. Detachment is a necessary step if we want to make the Lord our Treasure and Joy. It frees us to give ourselves without reserve to the Lord and to his service. There is nothing greater we can do with our lives than to place them at the service of the Lord and Master of the universe. We cannot outgive God in generosity. Jesus promises that those who are willing to part with what is most dear to them for his sake “will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life” (Matthew 19:29). Is there anything holding you back from giving your all to the Lord?

"Take, O Lord, and receive my entire liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my whole will. All that I am and all that I possess you have given me. I surrender it all to you to be disposed of according to your will.  Give me only your love and your grace – with these I will be rich enough and will desire nothing more.” (Prayer of Ignatius Loyola, 1491-1556)

Psalm 50:1-5, 23

1 The Mighty One, God the LORD, speaks and summons the earth  from the rising of the sun to its setting.
2 Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines forth.
3 Our God comes, he does not keep silence, before him is a devouring fire, round about him a mighty tempest.
4 He calls to the heavens above and to the earth, that he may judge his people:
5 "Gather to me my faithful ones, who made a covenant with me by sacrifice!"
23 He who brings thanksgiving as his sacrifice honors me; to him who orders his way aright I will show the salvation of God!"


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 (c) 2013 Don Schwager