An Encouraging Word: An Invitation
Apr 14, 2021
| By Barb Oliver
I recently watched the new TV series The Chosen, based on the life of Jesus, created, co-written and directed by Dallas Jenkins. You may have seen it or heard about it, too! The first TV series based on the gospels. They are so compelling and fun to watch. What I like is that they make me think and take me back to the Word of God for what happened and what the Word tells me.
Jesus' disciples were just like me, and you! They had questions and lives to live and decisions to make. I think of the rich young ruler, who came to Jesus asking, "Teacher, what good thing shall I do to obtain eternal life?" Jesus answered, "Why are you asking Me about what is good? There is only One who is good; but if you want to enter life, keep the commandments." You may recall the rest of the story. (Matthew 19:16-26) They had a dialogue about which commandments to keep and to sell all, and then Jesus said, "Come, follow Me."
"What is Jesus asking of me?"
Jesus' teaching to this young man was referring to the First Commandment: "You shall have no other gods before Me." (Exodus 20:3) Sadly, the young man turned to leave because all of his wealth was his god, his idol, and he couldn't give it up. I'm sure this encounter with Jesus was uncomfortable. He probably argued with himself, "What is Jesus asking of me?" "This is ridiculous, asking me to sell all I have."
I know in my own life, I struggle at times with the uncomfortable. I know it can be difficult to be obedient to the Holy Spirit's prompting and to get a grip on the awkward, demanding situations, and I ask myself, "What is Jesus asking of me?" "How should I live for You?"
I recall attending the early days of Women of Faith events with various speakers and worship music. Joni Eareckson Tada was a guest speaker in some of the cities. In 1997 she was speaking in Sacramento in a large arena. About 24 hours before the event, a mistake was discovered, and somehow the auditorium was oversold by a thousand seats! The WOF team came up with a fantastic solution and rented smaller plastic chairs so that the floor could accommodate more people. Everyone did have a seat.
An explanation was given as people arrived for the event, but you can imagine there was still upset and drama that developed. Some women were furious, uncomfortable, and complaining that they felt cheated they didn't get the proper seat. Those that had plastic chairs had to give up their chair for others, and they paid the same price for their ticket but had hard, uncomfortable chairs.
Just before Joni went on the platform to speak, they prayed before starting the event. Before Joni spoke, one of the team members mentioned this as a prayer request. If you're unfamiliar with Joni, she is a Christian author who loves Jesus. Through a diving accident as a teenager, she has often used her accident and weakness to demonstrate God's power in her life.
As she rolled up on stage in her wheelchair, she began with these words so kindly and fitly spoken: "I understand some of you are not sitting in the chair you want to be sitting in tonight. Neither am I. And I know so many would love to be sitting where you are tonight – even if only for one night."
A hush overtook the room.
"Come, follow Me!"
Wow! What an eye-opener. Can you imagine being in that audience, complaining about your seat, and then hearing Joni's opening statement? I shudder to think I would be so selfish. But then I ask myself, "Am I uncomfortable about the chair in which God has placed me? Right now, you might not be sitting in the chair you want! But Jesus has said, "Come, follow Me!" He might be inviting you to get out of your comfortable chair and take a step of faith. He might be saying, give up your comfortable position to walk alongside someone else, give your seat up to allow another woman to rest. Does this mean sharing the gospel, spending time with a younger woman struggling, visiting a widow, or watching someone's children for a few hours a week? It just might mean exactly that!
Just like the rich young ruler asks Jesus, each of us women asks, "Teacher, what good thing shall I do to obtain eternal life?" The answer is simple; the action might take more strength and conviction than you know! Jesus says, "Come, Follow Me!"