And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed Him (Luke 5:11).
Have you read that passage before in Luke? If you remember it, did you dismiss it as something that doesn’t deal with you? I think we have all probably dismissed this kind of verse at one time or another when reading our Bibles. And you probably have already started guessing what’s coming next in this post.
If the disciples left everything to follow Jesus, should we also leave it all and follow Him? How far does that extend into our finances and possessions?
I want to challenge you with the answer to those questions, but probably not in the way you think. It’s called a “theology of everything.” At least, that’s what we’ll call it today.
Some of you may actually leave it all behind and move to another place in service of Jesus’ call on your life. But that isn’t everyone. It may be you, and you need to be sure if it is. If the Lord has gifted you in sharing the gospel and evangelizing, it may very well be you. I’ve had wonderful friends leave their comfy upbringings to go joyfully into the toil of overseas ministry far away from modern comforts.
But how do the rest of us follow Jesus faithfully by leaving everything behind like the disciples did without actually leaving it all? A theology of everything means we are thoughtfully and prayerfully engaging everything we do in the scope of building the kingdom of God where we are.
Are you a fast-food worker in college? Do you have a theology of flipping burgers? Or another way to ask it: do you have a keen understanding of how your faithfulness in your fast-food job builds God’s kingdom and glorifies the Lord? Maybe you aren’t in that situation. You’re just a full-time student or work a full-time job elsewhere or fill in the blank. That question applies to you as well.
This is how you build a theology of everything in your life: Do you work your best at your job or schooling or whatever else? Do you take the time to befriend the lost around you and speak the gospel to them? These are ways to be used by God to build His kingdom.
Where the world so often promotes laziness or workaholism, leaving everything and following Jesus says to work hard and prioritize what matters most. Be faithful to your job and family and the church. Where the world says to focus on yourself and your desires, following Jesus means sacrificing of yourself for others yet still wisely caring for your needs (as opposed to worldly wants and comforts).
Ultimately, we tend towards asceticism and legalism or laziness and excess when this sort of topic comes up. But God really does call us to balance. We ought to be constantly giving of ourselves but also recognizing our limitations and surrounding ourselves with loving and faithful brothers and sisters in Christ.
He wants us to experience the joy in all of life wherever He calls us whether on the missions field in the middle of nowhere or barbecuing for neighbors and church family in the suburban backyard. Whatever your situation, how are you doing it for the glory of God? What is your theology of everything? Take time to think and pray about it. I’ll leave you with this command that instructs us in these things as well:
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31).