In his book Radical, David Platt shares a hair raising story about an Indonesian Tribe and how they discovered Jesus. Years ago the tribe was 100% Muslim when a missionary couple came to share the love of Jesus with them. Not long after their arrival, the couple was captured, murdered, and cannibalized.
You’d think that would be the end of it… But some time later another missionary came to the same tribe and preached the same Gospel. The tribal leaders realized that this was the same story that the previous missionary couple had shared and this time they decided to listen. After they heard about Jesus they believed. Today, there are more than three million Christians among the Batak tribe in Indonesia.
Stories like these don’t make sense. Who in their right mind would give up everything to help people they have never met? Who in their right mind would give up everything knowing that the people they are going to work with killed those who went before them? What kind of unbalanced, crazy, irrational thoughts must be going through their mind in order to make such a careless decision?
We call this crazy because it’s not common today. It’s not often we hear of people who lay down everything to go share Jesus with the world. But it’s exactly what every follower of Jesus has been called into.
Matthew 16:24 (NLT)
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me.”
I don’t know the missionaries who traveled to the tribe in Indonesia, but I think they understood the words of Jesus pretty plainly. They were prepared and willing to follow Jesus… No matter what.
But getting to that point of devotion and sacrifice is tough. So much of our lives are all about us. We want the big house. The fast car. The prestigious job. The beach house. We want the American Dream. We want comfort. But at the end of my life I don’t think I want people to say, “He lived a comfortable life.” What a way to be remembered.
This is where this call from Jesus comes in because He calls us into so much more than a comfortable life. Jesus calls us into purpose. He calls us into partnering with Him. He calls us into coming alongside Him and bringing the Kingdom of God to "Earth as it is in Heaven." I hope that at the end of my days people say, “He followed Christ. He served radically. He loved boldly.” Because that’s the kind of devotion and sacrifice that Jesus has called us into. Is it easy? Absolutely not. Is worth it? You bet.
So I want you to know ahead of time… If you’re serious about following Jesus, it could cost you everything. You’re not guaranteed safety. You’re not guaranteed food or water. You’re not guaranteed the American Dream. Following Jesus requires all of you. So don’t be surprise when things get tough. Expect it.
But expect it knowing the reward is well worth the sacrifice. Death is the worst thing that could happen to us. And if we die, then rest assured that you have Christ for eternity. He’s promised to be with us until the end of the age.
Full disclosure… He requires full surrender.
And He’s worth it.