How Close Do You Want To Be?
"Then Peter answered and said to him, 'Explain this parable to us.'" Matthew 15:15 Many people know that Jesus often spoke in parables. But what many miss is that the truths contained in the parables were not for public consumption. After dismissing the crowds, the disciples of the Lord would gather around him and ask him to show them the truths contained in his stories. "And the disciples came and said to him, 'Why do you speak to them in parables?' He answered and said to them, 'Because it has been given to YOU to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.'" Matthew 13:10-11 Is Jesus partial? Yes. He is partial to those who desire to walk closely with him. For the masses these truths are hidden. But that's just fine even for many believers - when they read the Word of God, they will learn the basics of the faith and that is sufficient for them. Jesus drew the multitudes by the miracles he did. Who wouldn't run after someone who was able to heal sick bodies and set people free from demonic oppression? And so they flocked to him. He didn't deny them, he healed them. But Jesus is not looking for people who will flock to him to get what they can out of him. He is looking for those who are willing to surrender their lives to him. These are the ones that he treasures. These are the ones he will explain the deep meanings of his parables to. In the days of these stories, he chose twelve disciples to follow him. They were the inner circle, they walked with him exclusively for the three and a half years of his ministry. And they would be the ones who would later take the Gospel to the world. But then, there was an even smaller group who wanted to be as close to him as possible regardless of what it might cost them. Peter, James, and John were the three who loved him in such depth that he was willing to receive them more intimately and teach them on a far more personal level than the others. These three you will often see going alone with Jesus whenever he went aside, or whenever something special was happening. He favored them and kept them close to him in all that he did. Friends, you can choose how close you want to be to the Lord. If all you want is to take whatever he's willing to give, then it's ok, he will allow that. But if you want to walk more closely than most, first you must count the cost. There is a cost to discipleship, and it can be severe at times. You don't have to make this depth of commitment if you don't want to, salvation is a free gift with no strings attached. But if you desire to walk intimately with the Lord, that will demand total surrender, and that can be very painful at times. However once you have walked in this depth with the Lord, you will wonder why anyone would even dream of not wanting this. He turns every hard and painful thing to the good for those who love him, (Romans 8:28), but few, having counted the cost, are willing to go that way. Some, however, understand the VALUE in discipleship and desire it at any cost. "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field." Matthew 13:44 That treasure is hidden. It is available to all, but not all will be willing to surrender all in order to have it. Few have that kind of heart, but for those who do, the joy of walking with the Master can be compared to nothing else in life - and then, in eternity. There are people who spend their lives wisely choosing how to invest in such a way as to ensure their comfort in retirement. Following that same principle, why wouldn't anyone who understands the importance of that, be interested in investing this short 70-80 year life on earth for great gain in eternity? On a yardstick, 1/16th of an inch is spent here, and the rest is eternity. Choose wisely.