Monday, May 04, 2009

Fine Print

Yesterday, Doug Page preached a sermon using Luke 9:57-62. He did a great job at helping us commit to saying "I will" without any conditions. All three of the people in the text that came to Jesus said they would follow him. Even though we never know if they actually follow Jesus in the end, it is good (at least) to see their willingness to follow him.

Willing or not, the problem seems to be in the fine print of following Jesus. One says, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father." Another says, "...first let me go back and say good-by to my family." The fine print of following Jesus. They want to follow Jesus, but on their own terms. "These are the conditions under which I will follow Jesus."

I hear a lot of fine print in ministry. I deal with unspoken and even spoken fine print all the time. Here is where I hear the fine print most of the time: in the words "maybe," "I'll try," "I should," "if I'm not busy...," "I don't know yet," and the like. Throughout the year, attendance in our service projects or soliciting spontaneous help seems to bring out the fine print most often. I guess I am more sensitive to this now at the end of the school year more than ever.

Now I know that these words are spoken from good intentions, spoken perhaps from a perspective saying, "I'd rather not commit to something than commit and back out later." This is not an outright evil way of looking at things. But, if I read Luke's text correctly, Jesus doesn't want the fine print. Jesus isn't interested in our conditions. He doesn't want half loyalty. Jesus wants us to follow him unconditionally.

All week I have been wondering about what my fine print is. Do I have conditions through which I filter my walk with Jesus? Is there a place where I refuse to follow Jesus? Are my finances my fine print? Is my contentment? Is happiness the fine print I require before I follow my Lord? Is it that other people have to go with me before I follow Jesus? "I don't want to be the only one going on that project!" Is food my fine print? "I don't want to sacrifice that much...or I won't eat that!" Do I need everyone to agree with me before I follow Jesus? Do I require others to treat me the way I deserve? Am I requiring comfort in my following Jesus?

So many questions. But I continue to wonder about the fine print. Jesus wants us to get rid of the fine print and just follow him. What does that mean in your life?

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