Not Worth Comparing

Not Worth Comparing

• Came across this somewhere and it resonated. John Newton, author of Amazing Grace: “I am not the man I ought to be, I am not the man I wish to be and I am not the man I hope to be, but, by the grace of God, I am not the man I used to be.”

• Prayer tonight at 7p. I’ll speak briefly to the current social unrest and the ultimate source of unrest in human souls. If you need the encouragement (I do), it will still be light outside when we finish praying. Also, Men’s Ministry this Saturday at 8a. Powerful and compelling topic, I encourage you to join us.

• This morning Jesus’ comment in Luke 9 came to mind: “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” It may sound like a harsh restriction, but the Lord is acknowledging or recognizing that things are going to be hard for his followers and there will be a yearning to go back. Like Israel in the wilderness or Lot’s wife, the reality of what God has called us to can make us long for whatever it was we used to have.

• The “hand to the plow” line comes at the end of Jesus’ teaching on those who say they want to follow him but have some proviso, some stipulation. As usual, those have to do with home and family — things that have substantial claim on our hearts. Jesus knows he isn’t engaging us at a trivial level.

• But to evaluate following Jesus exclusively on the basis of cost, or perceived cost, is to misunderstand him. No only would we be forgetting what he promises us, but we would be forgetting who it is that makes the promise. So, not only is it true that no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor mind conceived what God has prepared for those who love him, but it’s profoundly important to take into account who is doing the promising. It is God who formed us cell-by-cell in the womb (Ps 139:13), God who gave shape to who we are (Eph 4:7-12), God who ordains the circumstances of our lives (Acts 17:25-27), and God who is guiding us up to this moment (Jer 10:23). He knows us. He knows our hearts. He understands our frailty. He loves us. He died for us.

• Paul said “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Rom 8:18). The day is coming when the cost of following Jesus will be not so much trivial as irrelevant, swallowed by the glory of the kingdom and presence of God. Lewis famously said, “It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” Be patient and persevering; hold on to, and hold out for, the promises of God. They will do far more than make up for your losses. The two aren’t even worth comparing.