photo by: Shirley/Oklahoma/June 2009
Sold Out?
originally written 8 Nov 10
posted 9 Nov 10
I have been pondering this concept of
what it means to be truly “sold out” to Christ.

I have long heard the phrase 
“Don't be so heavenly minded that you’re no earthly good.”
This past week Matt Hammitt shared another side for consideration:
“Don't be so earthly minded that you are no heavenly good.” 

One poem I’ve read (and has often been quoted to me) declares that the author would rather stay by the door that leads to God
rather than go inside completely.
The premise is so that he can show others the way to God.
I understand, I think, what the author meant.
We ARE to be concerned with those who do not know the Truth we know.
But I do think that this can also be mistaken for an excuse to “hold back” a part of ourselves from the Lord, not yielding completely
so that we do not “go too far” that we cannot be seen.
However, isn’t the goal for HIM to be seen, not us?
As we are transformed into His likeness, those around us will see Him and they will either want this Love He has given us to share…
or they will reject it.
Their decision, good or bad, is not our responsibility.
We are simply to reflect Christ…
and we cannot do that if we cling to our old self.

When the Lord called His disciples, they immediately left whatever they were doing and obeyed His command to follow Him.  They didn’t go home and explain what they were doing to anyone, nor ask anyone's opinion or permission.  They didn’t tell him to wait until they finished.
They saw Salvation in human form and
gave Him first place in their lives…no matter the cost.

As I was driving this morning there was a song I heard on the radio
that touched on this idea of following Christ no matter the cost.
The Newsboys’ new song “Born Again” says
“we are the ones He called by name
(I’m never gonna look back) 
Let go let go the guilt the shame
(said I’m never gonna look back)”

There is an old hymn that came to mind
when I heard that portion of their song. 
It’s called “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus”
It’s an old folk song that originated with a hill tribe in India.
The writer of the song seems to “get” the concept of being fully yielded to Christ, especially in these two lines excerpted from the song:
“I have decided to follow Jesus
No turning back, no turning back.”
“Though none go with me, still I will follow
No turning back, no turning back.”
The writer wasn’t waiting for anyone to come with him…
he was going to follow, even if all alone.

It’s natural to want those we love to come with us…
but if they will not…should we stay behind to wait for them?
Or do we obey the call the Master has given us
and forge ahead on this Great Adventure?

I think I finally understand why Jesus said:
“Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me;
Anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”
Matthew 10:37

He’s not telling us that we shouldn’t love our families.
He’s telling us that we must love Him enough
that if we have to choose between the two,
Him or them, we will choose to follow Him, wherever He leads.
If we cannot…then we cannot claim to belong to Him;
we are still holding back, placing the love of others
above the sacrifice He made for us.

Christ tells us Himself that following Him WILL cost us.
(Matthew 10:16-42)
His love for us cost Him His life.
Can we give Him less in return and still claim to love Him?


























SO I STAY NEAR THE DOOR

By the Reverend Canon Samuel Moor Shoemaker, Jr., D.D., S.T.D.

I stay near the door.
I neither go too far in, nor stay too far out,
The door is the most important door in the world–
It is the door through which men walk when they find God.
There’s no use my going way inside, and staying there,
When so many are still outside, and they, as much as I,
Crave to know where the door is.
And all that so many ever find
Is only the wall where a door ought to be.
They creep along the wall like blind men,
With outstretched, groping hands,
Feeling for a door, knowing there must be a door,
Yet they never find it - - -
So I stay near the door.
The most tremendous thing in the world
Is for men to find that door–the door to God.
The most important thing any man can do
Is to take hold of one of those blind, groping hands,
And put it on the latch–the latch that only clicks
And opens to the man’s own touch.
Men die outside that door, as starving beggars die
On cold nights in cruel cities in the dead of winter–
Die for want of what is within their grasp.
They live, on the other side of it–because they have found it.
Nothing else matters compared to helping them find it,
And open it, and walk in, and find Him - - -
So I stay near the door.
Go in, great saints, go all the way in–
Go way down into the cavernous cellars,
And way up into the spacious attics–
It is a vast, roomy house, this house where God is.
Go into the deepest of hidden casements,
Of withdrawal, of silence, or sainthood.
Some must inhabit those inner rooms,
And know the depths and heights of God,
And call outside to the rest of us how wonderful it is.
Sometimes I take a deeper look in,
Sometimes venture a little farther;
But my place seems closer to the opening - - -
So I stay near the door.
There is another reason why I stay there.
Some people get part way in and become afraid
Lest God and the zeal of His house devour them;
For God is so very great, and asks all of us.
And these people feel a cosmic claustrophobia.
And want to get out. Let me out! they cry.
And the people way inside only terrify them more.
Somebody must be by the door to tell them that they are spoiled
For the old life, they have seen too much;
Once taste God, and nothing but God will do any more.
Somebody must be watching for the frightened
Who seek to sneak out just where they came in,
To tell them how much better it is inside.
The people too far in do not see how near these are
To leaving–preoccupied with the wonder of it all.
Somebody must watch for those who have entered the door,
But would like to run away. So for them too,
I stay near the door.
I admire the people who go way in.
But I wish they would not forget how it was
Before they got in. Then they would be able to help
The people who have not yet even found the door,
Or the people who want to run away again from God.
You can go in too deeply, and stay too long,
And forget the people outside the door.
As for me, I shall take my old accustomed place,
Near enough to God to hear Him, and know He is there,
But not so far from men as not to hear them,
And remember they are there, too.
Where? Outside the door–
Thousands of them, millions of them.
But–more important for me–
One of them, two of them, ten of them,
Whose hands I am intended to put on the latch.
For those I shall stay by the door and wait
For those who seek it.
I had rather be a door-keeper . . . 
So I stay near the door


































Matthew 10:16-42
   16 “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. 17 Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues. 18 On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. 19 But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, 20 for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. 
   21 “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. 22 You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 23 When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. Truly I tell you, you will not finish going through the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes. 
   24 “The student is not above the teacher, nor a servant above his master. 25 It is enough for students to be like their teachers, and servants like their masters. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebul, how much more the members of his household! 
   26 “So do not be afraid of them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. 27 What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. 28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. 30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. 
   32 “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven. 
   34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn 
   “‘a man against his father, 
   a daughter against her mother, 
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— 
   36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’
   37 “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it. 
   40 “Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. 41 Whoever welcomes a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person as a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. 42 And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.” 

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