by David Sisler
A missionary to Africa became friends with several Mormon missionaries from the United States who were also working in Africa. He asked one of the young men from Utah, “How many Mormon missionaries are in the field this year?”
“Over 30,000,” he replied.
Then the young Mormon asked, “How many missionaries are serving from your denomination?”
The missionary hung his head a little and replied, “300.”
The Mormon said, “No, I mean including your volunteers.”
The missionary hung his head a little lower and said, “Our denomination has over one million members and this year we have 300 missionaries working on foreign fields.”
Do you suppose there is a connection between the number of Mormon missionaries and the fact that their church is one of the fastest growing denominations in the world?
Jesus was travelling along the coast of Judaea, on his way to Jerusalem. Suddenly a young man ran up to him, knelt in the dust and asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus said, “There is none good but God alone. Are you calling me good because you know me to be God?”
Then Jesus recited the Ten Commandments. With great excitement, the young man, speaking honestly insofar as he knew himself, said, “I have kept all of them since I was a child.”
Without a single word of correction, without a single hint that the young man was being terribly naive, Jesus looked at him with a special look of love. Jesus said, “I want you to do this one thing. Take everything you own, sell it, and give the profits to the poor. You will have treasure in heaven. Then come and follow me.”
Do you realize the reverence with which that young man’s name would have been spoken today if he had followed Jesus’ command? How many baby boys would have been named in his honor, do you suppose?
But let me remind you, even if he had sold everything and given all of the money to the poor, but had not followed Jesus, it would have meant nothing at all. He still would not have had eternal life.
There is a connection between following Jesus and enjoying eternal life, and we often forget that.
Perhaps you have great wealth. You’ve invested wisely. You have a growing portfolio of stocks and bonds. You’ve put some of your money in mutual funds and the return has been fantastic. Is Jesus telling you to liquidate all of your holdings and distribute your wealth to the poor? Not unless money is your God.
Jesus talked to a Samaritan woman who had five husbands and then just moved in with lover number six. Her concept of love and sex was her God and that had to change before she could follow Jesus.
To follow Jesus means that there is nothing in your life more important than Jesus. To follow Jesus means that whatever he directs, you perform. To follow Jesus means that you live your life according to the pattern he dictates, not your own.
There is a connection between the way we live and whether or not we are following Jesus. If the style of our lives is contrary to the lifestyle of Jesus, then we are not following him and we do not possess eternal life.
Joining a church is easy. Passing a catechism class is easy. Picking up religious lingo is easy. Following Jesus is hard, but he demands that everyone who says they believe in him, follow him. There is no catch. But there is a connection. It’s between the pattern of your life and the statement of your lips. It is one thing to say, “I believe.” It is quite another thing to practice that belief. “Follow me,” Jesus said, “and you will have eternal life.” Don’t miss the connection.
Copyright 2004 by David Sisler. All Rights Reserved.
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