I remember telling the Lord when I was a teenager, "Lord, if you call me to be a missionary, I will go. But please not to the Amazon. With the snakes. And giant insects. And swamps. Please God- just not there." I mean, I had seen "Swiss Family Robinson" when they are trudging through the swamp and are attacked by the giant snake. I wanted no part of that. God never called me to the Amazon.
In fact, He never called me to be a missionary at all, ...at least not to foreign lands.
But He did call me to be faithful here and to be following Jesus wherever He might lead in the every day and the mundane. He called me to feed the savages in my kitchen and proclaim the gospel to the heathen in my living room. He called me to open a school so I could not only teach the infidels to read, but also to love reading His Word. He called me to be a medical missionary to the countless bumps and bruises, dislocated joints, asthma attacks, fevers, and occasional fake sicknesses brought on by the desire to skip school.
Following Jesus- it isn't actually easy, but it's really not that complicated.
It is like the incidence in Scripture when Jesus is washing the disciples' feet. John 13 contains this remarkable story- a story where the God of the universe gets down on His knees to demonstrate to us what real love looks like.
Jesus must have astonished every disciple as He took on the job of the lowliest servant and started, one by one, washing their feet. But when He got to Peter, Peter flat out refuses to have Jesus wash him.
Jesus responds rather bluntly, "If I do not wash you, you have no share with Me." (ESV)
So Peter brilliant responds, "Not my feet only, but also my hands and head." (ESV)
Oh, Peter. Oh, me.
How often do I first fight what God calls me to do and then when I agree make it ten times harder just to prove my devotion?
I wonder how the other disciples were responding. I wonder which ones were rolling their eyes at Peter thinking that Peter always had to one up everyone else. And maybe some were thinking about what else they could have washed to prove they actually could follow Jesus more than Peter could. Could there have been one or two disciples who felt guilty because they were going to simply obey Jesus and now they were worried they hadn't done enough?
But Jesus didn't need for Peter to make it harder or more. He just wanted Peter to obey.
Jesus said, "The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except his feet..." (John 13:10, ESV)
Of course it was hard for the disciples to humble themselves to allow Jesus to wash their feet. They had to lay down their pre-conceived ideas, their pride, their arrogance. It also must have been daunting to realize that if Jesus was washing their feet then He was probably going to expect them to do the same to those they served.
Following Jesus- it may never be easy. But it is simple.
Today I promise to lay aside my pride, submit myself to Jesus, and simply follow where He leads.
May my mind never be "led astray from the simplicity and pure devotion to Christ." (II Cor. 11:3)
It is just not that complicated.