The story tells of a widowed Scottish minister, John Harper, traveling on the Titanic with his young daughter. When he realized there was no hope for the mighty ship, he placed his daughter in the hands of an officer and returned to second class to assist others.
It is noted that Mr. Harper began directing people to the lifeboats. His words were, “Women and children and the unsaved into the lifeboats first.”[i]
There is also evidence that while in the icy waters, Mr. Harper’s last words were “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.”[ii] (Acts 16:31 – KJV) At least one soul was saved that night…a survivor who later told the events of an encounter with Mr. Harper and the message of salvation that was accepted.
But the feeling that I get is that Mr. Harper wasn’t acting this way because he was on a sinking ship. Because there was a sense of urgency. I believe that this was a lifestyle for Mr. Harper. To share the message of God’s salvation to anyone and everyone.
So I must ask myself this question. How often do I quote Acts 16:31 throughout my day? Are these words on my lips only during times of urgency? Do I really care about the lost of this world?
When I accepted the call to follow Jesus, I accepted Jesus’ mission. That mission is to seek and save the lost. Mr. Harper got it. I think I get it at times, but not all the time.
The thought “you’re being too hard on yourself” just ran through my mind. No I don’t think I am. That’s the devil telling me to “back off. There’s no reason to share that message with others today. There’s still plenty of time.”
It doesn’t matter if there is plenty of time. The message must be spoken. The message must be shared. I am called to speak this message to those who are lost.
Being a disciple of Christ requires action on my part. If we look at how the disciples reacted to Jesus’ call, we’d see some remarkable actions.
Peter, Andrew, James, and John left their boats and fishing nets behind to follow Jesus. (Matthew 4:18-22). There was no hesitation on their part. They didn’t know what their future with Jesus held. They just knew there was something to be done.
In Luke 5:27-28 we see the calling of Levi (Matthew) the tax collector. This call led Matthew to action. He left everything behind.
Jesus found Philip and then Philip brought his brother Nathaniel (Bartholomew) along. (John 1:43-51) Jesus’ words about Nathaniel are so interesting. “Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false.” (John 1:47 – NIV) How amazing it would be to hear those words from Jesus!
Each time Jesus called a disciple, His words were simple. “Follow Me.” They chose to follow Jesus. Without hesitation. Without questions. Without answers. They followed.
When Jesus says “Follow Me,” He asks us to be clothed in His characteristics. Follow His actions. He asks us to pick up His mission and follow through with it.
“Follow Me” are Jesus’ words to all of us. Whether we choose to leave everything to accept that call is what it is really about. Have you accepted the call? Are you a follower of Jesus Christ? Have you left it all behind to be a disciple of Christ?
I must admit, there are times when I am not the best follower. I allow my human nature to take control and push aside Jesus’ characteristics. But I also know that Jesus is loving and eager to accept me back into His circle.
Peter found this same acceptance after his denial of Jesus. Peter fully accepted the call on a little beach after breakfast. Peter had gone back to his old way of life, but Jesus called him once again to follow through with His mission (John 21:1-18).
Don’t underestimate what God can do in your life. What God can do through you. Follow Him. He will lead you in ways you’d never dream possible.
Grace and peace be yours in abundance,