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One of my last years serving as a teacher I spent time with a mentor, playing pool in his basement once a month.  While competing in a few friendly games, our conversation turned toward more serious topics.  From time to time, a neighbor came over to join us.  On one occasion this man spoke of his battle with cancer, spending several months at a natural rehabilitation center.  This facility concentrates on altering diets to cure cancer.  Recounting an emotional story, his friend was unwilling to change his eating habits.  This decision led to his death months earlier becoming another victim of cancer,

But the man was saddened at Jesus’ words, and he left grieving, because he owned much property and had many possessions [which he treasured more than his relationship with God], Mark 10:22.

For those who go through life relatively healthy, there’s another decision to consider, what will you devote your life to?  One day a rich young ruler approached Jesus, hoping receive an answer to his spiritual question.  This man believed being good might be enough to get him into heaven.  Jesus exposed his flawed mentality with a three part action plan.  After contemplating Jesus’ words, a spirit of depression consumed this man.  In the end, he was unwilling to let go of his wealth on earth.

As they were going along the road, someone said to Him, “I will follow You wherever You go.” 58 And Jesus told him, “Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head.” 59 He said to another, “Follow Me [accepting Me as Master and Teacher].” But he said, “Lord, allow me first to go and bury my father.” 60 But He said to him, “Allow the [spiritually] dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and spread the news about the kingdom of God.” 61 Another also said, “I will follow You, Lord [as Your disciple]; but first let me say goodbye to those at my home.” 62 But Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back [to the things left behind] is fit for the kingdom of God,” Luke 9:57-62.

This isn’t the only account of people failing to commit to Jesus’ standards.  A first century doctor recalls a day when three different individuals approached Jesus wanting to be a disciple.  Eager to join Jesus’ ministry team, none of them had the right stuff as each was unwilling to take their faith to extreme measures.  Its easy to play Monday Morning Quarterback by placing yourself into these situations.  However, in the heat of the moment, its hard to know how you respond.  For now, the best thing you can do is mentally prepare yourself for similar situations by asking, “how willing will I be when it counts?”

by Jay Mankus


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