Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Want To

His answer was simple enough. Or, was it?

A couple of weeks ago, as I was driving home from work, I hit the scan button on my radio. A few short seconds later I found myself listening to NPR (not my usual choice, by the way) and eavesdropping on a conversation between two gentlemen. I had landed on this station just in time to hear the host of this radio show ask the following question:

"So what kind of qualifications does one need in order to succeed in your line of work?"

The man being interviewed simply responded, "the want to".

I was hooked. I quickly reached for the scan button again. They had my complete attention.

The interview continued and so did my curiosity. As I listened, I speculated about what occupation they might be referring to. Imagine my surprise when I finally figured out what this man did for a living. Any guesses?

According to this gentleman, if you have the "want to", you, too, can become a.........drum roll, please........... professional rodeo clown!

I had to smile. Of all the occupations that had popped into my mind, I have to admit professional rodeo clown was not one of them. But then, it all started to come into focus. Having the "want to" made perfect sense.

I have a feeling if this radio host had been interviewing any one of the twelve disciples, they, too may have responded with the exact same answer.

Walking along the beach of Lake Galilee, Jesus saw two brothers: Simon (later called Peter) and Andrew. They were fishing, throwing their nets into the lake. It was their regular work. Jesus said to them, "Come with me. I'll make a new kind of fisherman out of you. I'll show you how to catch men and women instead of perch and bass." They didn't ask questions, but simply dropped their nets and followed. Matthew 4:18-20, The Message

After this he went out and saw a man named Levi at his work collecting taxes. Jesus said, "Come along with me." And he did—walked away from everything and went with him. Luke 5:27,28,The Message

Were any of these men qualified to be a disciple of the Most High God? What did they themselves even know about God? How could they possible lead others to God? And yet, Jesus called them into service and they took Him up on His invitation. They had the "want to" and that was all they needed.

What about you? What about me?

Over my lifetime, I have passed up many God-given invitations simply because I felt I was unqualified? I have a feeling you have, too. Like me, you have probably heard the voice of Jesus calling you to follow Him into a new place, a new career, a new direction, a new life...and yet, you opted to stay put, right where you were. You may still be in this same, seemingly "safe", spot today.

The disciples could easily have talked themselves out of this new calling. After all, they already had an occupation. They were already knee-deep in their livelihood. They knew how to fish and they were good at it. Matthew not only knew how to collect taxes for the government, but for his own pocket, as well. They weren't listening for the knock of opportunity. They weren't looking to "find themselves". They weren't looking for God. Yet, when the knock came and the door to a new life in Christ was opened before them, they took the leap of faith and jumped in with both feet. They were caught....hook, line and sinker.

Why? Because they were qualified? No. Simply because they had the want to.

The Jesus who gave them the invitation of a lifetime is still the Jesus who calls out to you today. He is still looking for people to walk away from all that they know, all that they do, and follow Him.

When Jesus calls you, He is not looking at your qualifications. The one who created you knows better than you what you were created to do. The one who formed you in your mother's womb knows better than you that for which you were formed. All you need to have is the "want to". But, is it really as easy as that?

"One day when large groups of people were walking along with him, Jesus turned and told them, "Anyone who comes to me but refuses to let go of father, mother, spouse, children, brothers, sisters—yes, even one's own self!—can't be my disciple. Anyone who won't shoulder his own cross and follow behind me can't be my disciple.

Is there anyone here who, planning to build a new house, doesn't first sit down and figure the cost so you'll know if you can complete it? If you only get the foundation laid and then run out of money, you're going to look pretty foolish. Everyone passing by will poke fun at you: 'He started something he couldn't finish.'"

"Or can you imagine a king going into battle against another king without first deciding whether it is possible with his ten thousand troops to face the twenty thousand troops of the other? And if he decides he can't, won't he send an emissary and work out a truce?"

"Simply put, if you're not willing to take what is dearest to you, whether plans or people, and kiss it good-bye, you can't be my disciple."
Luke 14:25-33, The Message

As the interview on NPR continued, the two gentlemen talked about the cost of being a rodeo clown. This occupation requires a lot of traveling: traveling that takes this clown away from his family many days through out the year. Add to this, the occupational hazards of being a rodeo clown. After all, the only reason the clown is even part of the rodeo is for the protection of the cowboys. He is there to put himself in between the cowboy and the raging bull. His occupation requires him to put his life on the line for the life of the cowboy. Counting the cost has to be factored in to "the want to".

As disciples of Christ, we too, need to count the cost.

And Jesus called [to Him] the throng with His disciples and said to them, If anyone intends to come after Me, let him deny himself [forget, ignore, disown, and lose sight of himself and his own interests] and take up his cross, and joining Me as a disciple and siding with My party] follow with Me [continually, cleaving steadfastly to Me]. Mark 8:34, The Amplified Bible

Jesus is calling us to leave everything and to follow Him. Is there a cost to being a disciple of Christ? Most definitely! Is it worth it? Most definitely!

It was obvious. This clown considered his occupation as a "high calling". He considered in an honor to be able to "be there" for a fellow cowboy in need. To him, saving the life of another was worth the risk of losing his own.

As a disciple of Christ, we too have been given a high calling. What could be a more rewarding occupation than fishing for men? What could be more rewarding than reaching others with the love of Jesus? What could be more honorable than giving of our own life to save that of another?

Jesus is still calling today. He is still giving you and me the invitation of a lifetime. He is still knocking on the doors of our hearts and presenting us with the opportunity to stand in the gap for those in our arena of life.

Are you willing to say "yes"? Are you willing to leave it all behind and follow Him?

Is it really worth it to you?

It is if you have the "want to".

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