When we see that a large group of people are doing something, a lot of times we start to wonder about doing it also. I know when I saw that a lot of people had Instagram, and my friends were constantly saying “yeah I saw it on Instagram!” I started to wonder...Hmmm should I get one too? I held out for the longest because I just felt like it was unnecessary, but one day a few months ago when I was bored, I gave in and got one. For me, it was easier to get my own Instagram than to have to deal with people always asking me why I didn’t have one and if I saw stuff on other people’s pages.
In simple situations such as this, I don’t think that following the crowd is necessarily a bad thing, unless of course you are doing it for ALL the wrong reasons. I am not on Instagram that often and I don’t post any wild stuff, so in my opinion, it is a situation where it was ok to follow the crowd. But when following the crowd begins to separate you from God….HOUSTON WE HAVE A PROBLEM!
|Tell yourself this every morning!|
Today’s reading in John talks about a time when many of Jesus’ avid believers and followers started to walk away from him. John 4:66-67 says “At this point many of his disciples turned away and deserted him. Then Jesus turned to the Twelve [disciples] and asked, “Are you also going to leave?” Since he was God living in an earthly body, Jesus knew more than anyone about the natural human desire to follow the crowd. But being all-wise and full of the spirit, he knew that although not as easy, being “different” and not following the crowd was important. In Matthew 7:13 Jesus says, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it!” Basically, it takes dedication and commitment to not take “the easy way out” by following the crowd. I am sure the people that walked away from Jesus and no longer wanted to follow him felt that it was easier to just “be normal” and not be seen as fanatics or weirdos.
The craziest thing about Jesus’ question to the disciples though, is that just as he already knows what will happen after the world ends and who will end up in Heaven and in Hell, he knew that Judas would walk away by first betraying him (“Then Jesus said, “I chose the twelve of you, but one is a devil.” He was speaking of Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, one of the Twelve, who would later betray him.”—John 6:70-71), and later by committing suicide. While the other 11 disciples stayed steadfast and were ride or die for Jesus—literally, most of the disciples were later murdered for their beliefs!—I believe Judas acted as he did because like my motivation for getting an Instagram, it was easier.
So God is saying to us, “Are you also going to leave?” Are you going to leave church like that friend of yours because one of the ushers made you mad? Are you going to sleep around because it is easier to be promiscuous than virtuous? Are you going to party your life away because it is easier to get through difficult situations when you are inebriated? Are you going to belittle that handicapped person because it is easier to point out their deficiencies rather than working on your own? No matter how much more difficult it is to live righteously, when answering God, like Peter we should firmly believe in our hearts when we say, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God” (John 6:68-69).
Let’s work together on Choosing the Small Gate, taking the local righteous road, which is far less traveled, instead of the parkway.
Merciful Mondays: Jael
“For the Lord your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon you or destroy you or forget the solemn covenant he made with your ancestors.” Deuteronomy 4:31