Following Jesus

Following Jesus is hard work. Sometimes it is very easy to think that God will simply ask us to follow His commands, be good people, and our ticket will be punched into heaven. I need everyone to remember that we are here for each other and sometimes being there for someone is not very easy. I wanted to share an experience I had yesterday that highlights exactly what I am referring to. 

There is an older gentlemen in our parish who has a serious disease and is currently undergoing treatment. What complicates this situation is the gentlemen is and has been deaf since birth. He doesn’t sign well, and he can’t always read lips well. As a result, he trusts very few people and this combined with the inability to effectively communicate at times makes him very difficult to deal with. He can be a very pleasant and loving person and I find that inspiring coming from someone who has endured so much in life. Other times, he can be more than a handful to deal with and can be verbally abusive when he is upset. Yesterday was one of those times.

After I dropped him off and drove home I thought about what a hard day this was for me. I was stressed about taking him the night before and didn’t sleep much. When we made it to the doctor’s office I thought “we made it through the hard part” only to find out the worst was yet to come. I remember the scripture verse in Matthew 20 when the mother of James and John comes to Jesus asking that her sons sit at the right and the left of Jesus:

20c Then the mother* of the sons of Zebedee approached him with her sons and did him homage, wishing to ask him for something.

21 He said to her, “What do you wish?” She answered him, “Command that these two sons of mine sit, one at your right and the other at your left, in your kingdom.”

22 Jesus said in reply, “You do not know what you are asking.* Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink?” They said to him, “We can.”

23 He replied, “My cup you will indeed drink, but to sit at my right and at my left [, this] is not mine to give but is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.”

24d When the ten heard this, they became indignant at the two brothers.

25 But Jesus summoned them and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and the great ones make their authority over them felt.

26 But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant;

27e whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave.

28f Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom* for many.”

Jesus asks us to drink from the cup that He gives us. Notice in verse 22 Jesus states “You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink?” I think this is a question that all of us as followers of Jesus need to be prepared to answer. We don’t get to pick and choose who we are asked to help. Jesus brings people in the lives of others to fulfill a need in them and/or fulfill a need in us. I have said often that I would drink whatever cup that Jesus gives me to drink from. I realized yesterday that this means a real commitment to Jesus and the person you are trying to help no matter how challenging this situation may be. I thought about how this impacted me yesterday on the ride home, but then I realized if I thought my day was bad, the gentlemen’s day must have been considerably worse considering all that happened and he not being able to understand or be able to put aside his distrust for people and then feeling all alone as a result. This is a perspective we all need to adopt as believers and followers. It’s not about us, its about the other people in our lives and we are asked to put them first and serve them. As stated in verse 28:

28f Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom* for many.”

I wondered when Jesus first realized His destiny did the human side of him say “whoa is this what I signed up for”? I suspect this since I said the same thing many times during the day yesterday, but Jesus’ answer is our answer and a resounding YES! This IS what we signed up for when we agree to drink from the cup that He gives us. Jesus knows we can handle these challenges or we wouldn’t be tasked with them in the first place. It is in these tough situations where we find God present in us and we find the words and the strength to carry on. Was yesterday hard? Absolutely. Will I go back when this man needs me again? Absolutely. Will I continue to drink from the cup whatever the situation? Absolutely because I was not alone yesterday. Jesus was with me all day as He is with his people everyday giving us the strength we need to be there for others. What a tremendous gift. If you asked me yesterday did I feel blessed I probably would have said no. Now that I have had the opportunity to reflect on the situation I believe I was absolutely blessed to have Jesus with me helping one of His own.

God Bless

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