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I Surrender All, and Yet He Blesses Abundantly

June is always a wonderful and a tough month for me. It's wonderful for reasons to celebrate: Our two youngest, as well as my father and niece all have birthdays in June, four reasons to celebrate Father's Day, and the rebirths I get to witness at each church camp. It's also a tough month for me: I usually miss Father's day and several birthdays, as I am at camp with several students. These things are always stark reminders: following Jesus requires sacrifice. Yet in my service of Jesus, it's not just June that I miss out on things. I often miss bed times, meals, and other family activities, phone calls, and tending the sheep often don't happen on a 9 to 5 schedule. I'm not lamenting any of it, and I would not stop doing any of it, even if I was told to, I say this because Jesus calls us to serve, and it's not often on the schedule we'd desire. Yet, through it all, I've managed to coach little league, be at school concerts, and do whatever it is I could to make the most of the time God gives me with my first ministry (my family). Somehow, I can still serve Jesus and yet have time for my family. He provides the way.

Many of us question if we have time for service in the Kingdom. I've heard "Do you know what I would have to sacrifice if I did that? Do you know what I do for a living? Don't you know that I give enough in the plate each Sunday?" Loved ones, I know what it costs; I'm not here to tell you to give, and yet not practice what I preach. Yet I find that when I surrender all, He blesses abundantly. Jesus doesn't call us to serve on our free time, he calls us His all the time, and we're never off duty. It's not the job of preachers, elders, Sunday school teachers, song leaders, missionaries, ministry helpers, or any other servant within the church who's already serving to be the church. We're all called to be Christ's hands and feet at all times, regardless of how we feel about it. We're not called to question where the money goes if we help that person, or to consider our own lives when someone is in crisis, we're called to consider Christ and Him Crucified, that the world may see and know the hope we have in Jesus. I'm not trying to say I'm a good person or servant for my sacrifice, nor am I trying to boast, but if there is any encouragement in what I say I hope it is this: in everything I must give for the sake of Christ, He gives me time to be a father and husband, neighbor and friend, and anything else He's called me to be in His service. He has never failed, so I put my complete faith and trust in His good pleasure, and wait on my master, whenever He should call.

Luke 9:57-62 As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.

Luke 14:25-35 Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.

Salt is good, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is of no use either for the soil or for the manure pile. It is thrown away. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

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