Think About It

Blog 10.4.2021

Think about it.

Navigating the world is complicated. We gain many things in life through experience alone. We might not always know why we do something, but we probably learned that this was the best choice given all options available. Take Theo, for instance; the seasons have changed, we know the cold weather dictates what clothing is best for the situation. Amanda and I like to give him options for the clothes he might want to wear for the day. We’ll ask him, “Do you want a long sleeve shirt, or a short sleeve shirt and a jacket?” He replies that he wants to wear his swim shirt and swim trunks. We informed him that it is too cold for that, and we only use those items when we are playing in the water, which is also too cold to do. He insists because he wants to go swimming and believes it is almost guaranteed to happen if he puts on swimming clothes. He does not have the experience to know that running around in the cool weather in swimming clothes will be uncomfortable and miserable. It might be fun for a little bit, but it will be worse in the long term. As we grow older, we realize that to make some choices, we have to know the entire situation and consider if we can endure it for the whole day or longer.

Sometimes in my studies, all of the various study preparations perfectly coincide and dovetail. I like to call it my serendipitous moment. There are moments when I could force it, but there are times when it does all come together nicely, and I gain a glimpse of the network of truth laid out in scripture. A few weeks ago, my preparation brought me to this fantastic conglomeration of scriptures.

Healing at the Pool of Bethesda

  • John 5:1-15

Seeking and Saving the Lost

  • Matthew 18-10-20

Counting the Cost

  • Luke 14:25-35

On the surface, these might not seem to fit, at least not by the titles provided. However, as I studied, it solidified the wisdom contained throughout scripture. These passages solidify the understanding that we are all given a personal choice to follow Jesus.

Let’s begin with the text from our assembly on Sunday morning.

Matthew 18:10-20

  • Seeking and Saving the Lost
    • Two Groups
      • Those who will listen vs. 15
      • Those who will refuse to listen vs. 17

We spoke of seeking the lost within our assembly, the church before they have wandered away. The impetus is to turn those who know the truth away from sinning and return to their way of life before they found Christ. We discovered that the responsibility lies with the one that needs to repent and change. So first, Jesus informs his followers to go privately, then with a few witnesses, and finally the entire church to help the struggling disciple. The overall responsibility to change and return is not by coercion or force, but the choice remains with the one who committed the transgression.

Then as I studied for the Young Adult Class, we looked at the account of the Paralyzed man near the pool of Bethesda.

 John 5:1-15

  • Suffering person
    • He has no way to take care of his infirmity
    • Jesus asks him, “Do you want to be made well?

The old King James puts it, “Do you want to be made whole?” Is this not the question that every person must answer? Is this not the point of the Good News? Do you want to be made whole? Sadly, many don’t want to be made whole or are concerned that the trade-off is too steep. They rather like the existence they have carved out for themselves, even if the choice is waiting indefinitely by a pool for the waters to be “stirred”. So, once again, we must make a choice. Do we want to be made well?

Then during the Wednesday night class, we were reading Luke 14 concerning the parables of Jesus. So again, Jesus places a significant responsibility or ownership on the weight of being a disciple.

Luke 14:25-35

  • Counting the Cost
    • Three times Jesus says, “Cannot be my disciple.”
    • Twice he states, “Sit down and estimate the cost/consider”

Although Jesus has a large crowd following him, he does not want the casual follower to remain uninformed. Being his disciple or follower will be challenging, and there is a specific cost that we all must consider. He does not want anyone to enter into Christianity, unaware that there will be times when the price will be more than some can bear. Each of us has to reason within ourselves, I cannot choose others, and they cannot make a choice for me. When presented with the tough choice, they will walk away sorrowfully like the “Rich Young Ruler” found in Luke 18:18. Others will be commended for being a “good and faithful servant”, emphasizing the word faithful.

Buried within these passages is a challenge and compliment for each one of us. Jesus challenges us to count the cost and estimate if we can endure until the end. If we are presented with shortcomings, we heed the advice of others and change our ways. It is also a commendation to know that we have endured so far. Jesus gave us the option to be made whole, and we said, “Yes!” We have counted the cost, accepted the terms, and are the salt of the world. We have reasoned that following Christ is the best option, it might not be like running around in swim clothes, but it will be better for us in the long run. This week reevaluate the cost, genuinely think about it, count yourself blessed that you have been made whole, and endure to the end. 

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