“And He summoned the multitude with His disciples, . . .” Mark 8:34
In a win-at-all-costs world, where those who devote themselves to gaining more of the world by grinding axes, climbing ladders and winning the rat race, what appears to be the ultimate path to fulfillment, is littered with emptiness and defeat.
Jesus offers a different route. He sets it before us in vivid contrast. He declares that man is of great worth and has value which surpasses every empty, external pursuit. He came to reveal men to themselves, and God to men. His ministry was a progressive demonstration of their worth in the eyes of God. He believed that to convince them of their value and destiny was the surest way of winning them from destructive pursuits.
Jesus’ words weren’t to a select few; verse 34 reads, “He summoned the multitude.” Jesus spoke these words to the masses. His word stirred what each suspected, but hadso long suppressed. There, beneath the surface, are powers, talents and abilities that never found expression – the unfulfilled desire of a beautiful, meaningful life.
We are greater than we know. There’s something within us more heroic, more capable of love, and devotion than has ever surfaced in daily life. There are gifts, capacities and capabilities never exercised. We are living small, narrow lives only concerned with the drudgery of daily bread, never realizing there is within us an eternal soul, capable of unbounded love.
The message of Jesus is there is another way to a fuller life. His life was perfect self-expression. His was a life of limitations, disappointments. He was misunderstood. His words fell among thorns. He lived and ministered in small towns, mostly in unwelcome surroundings.
What life could seem more wasted? And yet, we see Him following the will of His father, giving Himself gladly to others. There was no bitterness, no complaint, no resentfulness. He built meaningful relationships; experienced the richness of life. Jesus shows us that there is more. The way to a deeper, fuller life, for which we long, is not attained by gaining more of the world, but by glad obedience, in carrying a cross which leads through pain and death.
Can you hear Him calling out the great follower of Jesus that’s in you?