All in

Today’s Reading: 2 Samuel 1:1-2:11, John 12:20-50, Psalm 118:19-29, Proverbs 15:27-28

At this point in John 12, Jesus was in Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. He knew He would soon die and in verses 25 and 26 He emphasized that those who following Him must be totally committed to Him.

25 Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity. 26 Anyone who wants to serve me must follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves me.

The promise is great – eternal life – but the price is high – a call to total commitment. Jesus is telling us that we must care nothing for our lives. When I was in graduate school, I had the privilege to know a priest named Father Frank McGrath. I recall that he went on retreat for what seemed like a long time to me – about 40 days. He later explained that the retreat was focused on the spritual exercises of Ignatius of Loyola, and that he spent the first two weeks just letting go of everything that concerned him. To me that sounds a lot like Jesus call to “care nothing for their life in this world.”

This is an interesting paradox of the Christian faith to me. I Timothy 2:8-10 make it very clear that salvation is a gift.

God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

At the same time, Jesus has called us to a life of faith in Him that involves total commitment of everything we have and everything we are. This reminds me of Caleb’s wholehearted commitment to God. He was truly “all in.”  My plan for today is to follow Caleb’s example (in Joshua 13-14) and and respond wholeheartedly to Jesus invitation.

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