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Called to what?

"For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11.30

Listening to disillusioned believers paints a picture of ship-wreck. So often they set out with high hopes, billowing like the sails of a ship leaving port on a breezy day. Much of what they describe about their motivation rings true - discipleship, obedience, God's call - but the reality sounds more like a toxic cocktail of guilt, judgment and exhaustion. What went wrong?

It would take divine insight or wise psychotherapy to unravel all the strands but the testimony of victims/ survivors suggests a failure of oversight and leadership, leaving idealistic young believers in a heap of shame wondering if it was all a lie. Jesus demands all the qualities listed above - faith, trust &c - however he insists that "his burden is light". What does that mean?

While stretching us beyond our ordinary limits and revealing gifts and abilities we never realised we had, following Jesus ought to be liberating. We are called out of slavery (to sin) and into freedom (by grace). So, far from feeling ever more guilty (that we are not doing enough) and ever more conscious of our failures (moral and practical), following Jesus ought to lead to a growing appreciation of God's love and mercy and an unforced appetite for more of the same.

This is not an excuse for indulgence because, in fact, the security found in realising "God loves me" releases one from having to justify ones own existence. I can look outward, whether that is in awe before God's glory or in compassion towards my suffering neighbour. Throughout his own life of suffering and service, Jesus was sustained in the knowledge of the Father's eternal love.



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