Sometimes I am struck by the sweeping events of Scripture. The ways in which God steps in and arranges things; the way he rescues and orchestrates and reveals himself. Sometimes it’s the events that take years to come to fruition that capture my own imagination and challenge my thinking. I’m thinking of events like the story Joseph’s life or Peter and Cornelius. These are stories and events that have a history and take some time to unfold.
But then there are other times where only a few words spoken or a moment described can cut so quickly right to the core and pull back the layers of my own busy life; a few words that can stop everything and give me serious pause. These are words that can leave me feeling blindsided and wondering, “What just happened here?!”
In Mark 10 Peter speaks such words. Honest and compelling words.
Then Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow you!” Mark 10:28
We have left everything to follow you.
Everything to follow.
For Peter life now consists of following. Everything else is only significant to the degree it fits into the following. Everything else is defined by the following. He is going where Jesus goes and everything else get’s left behind, unless it can keep up and fall in line because Peter is following.
And it’s not just about going through motions or attending meetings or using the lingo. For Peter it’s about living. He is eating, sleeping, and walking with Jesus. Trailing in the dusty footsteps of wherever and whenever the Messiah goes. In all possible ways Peter has literally and figuratively, spiritually and emotionally left everything to follow.
I am simply struck by the depth of commitment and decisive, defining life choice of Peter to be completely consumed as a follower. He’s not trying it out or checking into it. He’s not doing a few days a week or putting in significant time. It’s who he has become. And not just him, but all the disciples.
Jesus says to them, “Come, follow me.” And they come. Completely.
And yes, they have their lapses and their poor choices. Yes they doubt and question and wonder and wander at times. But the trajectory of their lives is always bent towards following—right to the end. And their lapses and failing only serve to encourage me that I can follow too.
But Peter is so definitive. He has left everything to follow Jesus. Sometimes I feel confident and can pat myself on the back and say, yes, I too have left it all. Everything in my life is defined by following.
But is it? Or are their things that I still hold on to? Are there limits to my “everything” that gets left? Some days, yes. I know there are. And some days I know, I am leaving it all and following.
And that’s just it. It is a leaving—in the present and continual sense. A constant letting go and walking away from everything else but the steps of Jesus and where he is leading. Everyday I’m choosing. Some days well and some days…not as well. But everyday is a leaving and a following, a living and a giving up. Everyday is a chance to surrender or to cling to what can’t give life and hope and a future.
I have left everything to follow Jesus. But some days I run back and scoop up my paltry treasures and try to figure out how to follow and still keep it all, control it all, rely on it all. And it doesn’t work. It never works.
But everyday is a new day for choosing. Thankfully, it’s a new day for choosing.