Stayers or Strayers

Jesus Christ is looking for people who care. Do you?

He is looking for people to represent Him. Will you?

There have always been people who followed Christ. Those who have can be divided into two groups: stayers or strayers.  

John 6:66 describes the first group. Jesus depicted the challenges and demands of following Him, and “From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.”  Then Jesus turned with a broken heart and addressed a question to those remaining: “Do you also want to go away?” (John 6:68).

They became His decals. They stuck. Near the end of His ministry in the upper room on the eve of His death He paid them one of the highest compliments He ever paid anyone. He said, “You are those who have continued with me in My trials.” In effect, “You,” He said, “stuck with me.”

They were not much to brag on and they probably knew it, but one quality they had and He stressed it. “You stayed when others strayed.” They stayed because they cared.

The philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche, not one of my favorite writers; but in his book, “Beyond Good and Evil” he made a worthy observation. He wrote: “The essential thing ‘in heaven and earth’ is…that there be a long obedience in the same direction; there thereby results, and has always resulted in the long run, something which has made life worth living.”

That is what results when one really cares about Christ and His cause. There is a long obedience in the same direction. There is no turning back.

Jesus’ disciples were “harassed” and “helpless.” That is, they were bullied and could not help themselves. That is the clientele of our culture also.

Jesus took their condition to heart and was moved by compassion, heartfelt sympathy. These words mean to share with someone their experience.

Many begin their day feeling like the man depicted in the cartoon awakening. The caption: “How do you want your goose cooked today?”

If you care, you share. There is an old proverb which came from ancient Europe which states: “Shared joy is double joy; shared sorrow is half a sorrow.”

Clearly, the way of doubling a joy is by sharing it. When something good happens and you share it with a friend, the joy is doubled.

When one receives Jesus Christ as Savior, he is accounted righteous because Christ’s righteousness is imputed to his account.

Being “accounted righteous” does not exonerate us from practicing righteousness – doing right – as He is right.

Some time ago I visited California’s giant Sequoia Forest. I was amazed at one tree known as General Sherman. It is over 200 feet high and is 70 feet in circumference. I thought surely the roots of that big fellow must go at least 100 feet deep. I was fascinated when the guide said they were just beneath the surface. I thought that must be wrong. If they are so shallow, a wind would easily blow them over. The guide explained that Sequoia trees grow only in groves. Their roots intertwine. When the strong winds come, they each hold up the other.

Jesus intends for His followers to be Sequoia Christians.