Monday Morning Devotion-July 1, 2019
Joe Pot Roast
You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. Acts 1:8
*Reprint from June 25, 2012
Joe Pot Roast that's who you are. Or maybe you are Jane Pot Roast. You sit in the stands at ball games, eat at McDonalds, go to Disney World with the children or grandchildren on vacation, wear your favorite team's ball cap.
People don't cheer when you, not a chauffeur, drive past. The room full of people doesn't lapse into silence when you enter. You don't have a butler, a personal chef, or the President's cell phone number in your IPhone.
You are special!
Max Lucado in his bestselling book (aren't all of his books bestsellers?) "Out Live Your Life" makes that point because you have been called by the King of the Universe to work on his behalf.
Lucado addresses the high-fiving disciples who were "crammed into the second floor of a Jerusalem house and were abuzz as if they'd just won tickets to the World Cup Finals." OK for those of you who don't do soccer, substitute Super Bowl or World Series here.
Yes, Jesus had returned, but it was a little puzzling. He had given them this commission...uh, Great Commission to go tell the whole world about him and how he had been crucified and buried but returned three days later. Who were these guys that were given that commission to become witnesses to the World?
"You hillbillies will be my witnesses."
"You uneducated and simple folk will be my witnesses."
"You who once called me crazy, who shouted at me in the boat and doubted me in the Upper Room"
"You temperamental, parochial net casters and tax collectors."
"You will be my witnesses."
"Yes, you will spearhead a movement that will explode like a just opened fire hydrant out of Jerusalem and spill into the ends of the earth."
That was a pretty tall order for Peter, who knew more about boats and fishing than culture and leadership. Andrew, James, Nathaniel had never gone farther than a week's walk from home.
Look at the whole list of disciples and you will find a collection of Joe Pot Roasts like us. And we, like them, have been called to take our meager talents in whatever form or fashion presents itself and spread the word about Him. Easy task, huh! Are you crazy? No, it's not easy. Life is hard and living life in a way that honors Jesus ain't easy either. But, the more you do it...the more you buy into it...the better it gets.
Kyle Idleman, teaching pastor at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, KY (5th largest church in America) in the opening chapter of his book "Not a Fan: Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Christ" says it was just a couple of days before Easter and he was sitting in an empty sanctuary wondering what in the world He was going to say to the "Creasters"...those who come to church only on Christmas and Easter... and would swell the congregation by thousands.
He had always felt that he had to make Jesus extra-appealing on these special days. He basically felt like he was in the business of Selling Jesus to those folks. Then he opened the Bible to the Gospel of John and read where Jesus fed thousands from that little boy's simple lunch of bread and fish and even had a lot left over.
Then He went across the lake and those folks followed him the next day hoping for more free food. Instead he told them "I am the bread of life." Suddenly Jesus is the only thing on the menu so the crowd has to make a decision in light of this "no more free food" declaration." John 6:66 says "From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him."
When he read that Idleman said he knew he had been making a mistake. He writes: "My intentions were good; I wanted to make Jesus look as attractive as possible so that people would come to find eternal life in Him. I was offering the people Jesus, but I was handing out a lot of free bread. In the process I cheapened the gospel. "
Idleman says he has tried to "talk people into following Jesus by making that process as appealing, comfortable and convenient as possible."
It's great to hear about forgiveness, salvation and happiness. But there are those
elements of repentance, surrender and brokenness to be considered, also. The whole package is challenging but ultimately rewarding.
Even though as Idleman writes, "Following Jesus isn't something you can do at night where no one notices. It's a twenty-four-hour-a-day commitment that will interfere with your life. That's not small print---that's a guarantee."
Sounds challenging, maybe even impossible. Lots of hard work. Get tired just thinking about it. Well, it would be tough if we had to do it alone.
But we don't have to. Here's what Jesus says:
"Come to me all you who labor and are heavy-laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke fits perfectly and the burden I give you is light."
You can do it Mr. or Ms. Pot Roast. You can carry out the commission of Jesus without any special training or talents or calling because you are special in His eyes. He has a plan for you and while it might not seem easy or even appealing, initially, you will find that the yoke is easy because someone much stronger than you is pulling along with you.
Prayer: Thank you Lord for taking our meager talents and multiplying them as we carry out Your commission. Amen!