Wednesday, March 28, 2012

"COURAGE" The Great Separator of Men

Jesus taught His disciples in Palestine:

"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away." (Matt 13: 47-48)

The net of the word of the Lord draws men to Him. Each knot in the great net is a carefully, deliberately tied binding of truth that is in turn connected to the next knot or principle, and the next, and the next. The great mesh of truth catches men of all kinds. Some "good" and some "bad." Some, called "good" will be gathered into vessels to be preserved, and some will be cast away. The "good," are perhaps glad to be found in the net. The "bad" struggle and fight for escape, even though they, like the "good" might be put up in vessels and preserved.

It has never been easy to be a disciple of the lord. Sacrifice is always required.  Courage becomes the great separator of men. The Lord said:

"...If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow meFor whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it." (Matt. 16: 24-25)

Almost all men are unable to "lose their life" for His sake. Very few are able to muster the necessary courage to walk away from a former life in order to follow Him. The comfort of men's traditions has a powerful lulling affect that holds men tight, prompting them to resist and struggle against the net of truth that might draw them to the safety of vessels where they might be preserved. Change, even when the truth is recognized is never easy.

It was courage the Lord was speaking of when he said:

"For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me." (Matt 10: 35-38)

Courage to change when truth is recognized is perhaps never challenged more than when there is recognition that family and old acquaintances will not understand. The comfort of traditions becomes the easy resort. And, sadly, it is to the comfort of their traditions that almost all men flee rather than to pick up the cross and follow whenever false tradition is challenged. Even men who consider themselves men of complete integrity and honesty are tempted to compromise what they know they "should do" when it might involve embarrassment, ridicule, or being cast out by peers or family. This is why courage is the great separator. This is exactly why Jesus said He had come to "set a man at variance" with those of his own household in many cases. And it is also why He would say, "he that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me."

Courage includes moving in the Lord's time and way. We do not set the terms or the timing for our repentance and our movement to Him, He sets the terms, we obey. Jesus taught the singleness of mind required to follow him when one of his disciples asked for just enough time to go bury his dead father:

"And another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead." (Matt. 8: 21-22)

Following the Lord when He calls requires all the courage we can muster. It may require that we stand completely alone. It may require that we suffer in many of the same ways He was required to suffer for us. He took up His cross, we in like manner are expected to pick up ours. But He has given this promise:

"Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him." (1Cor. 2: 9)

Have courage. Allow the net of the gospel of truth to bring you to vessels of honor in order that you be not cast away. 

No comments:

Post a Comment