In Matthew 19 verses 16 through 23 is the story of a man who went to church his whole life but still knew in his heart something wasn't right. His life lacked a sense of completeness, satisfaction and assurance of purpose which made him seek out Jesus for an answer to the ever important question, and I'm paraphrasing, but more or less, "Where's life and how do I get it, because I don't have it"?
Jesus knew religion hadn't given this man anything but a weekly routine that had left him empty, still doing the same old, same old. It hadn't changed anything in him and it wasn't giving him the joy of life. Jesus could see this man was needing and longing for a deep intimate relationship with him. So what does Jesus do? He offers this man exactly that, through the invitation to come follow him. This guy could have everything he felt and knew was missing in him--the opportunity to have fullment in life and assurance in everlasting life after death. However, in order for the man to take hold of such a great offer, he had to leave his old life behind. His things, his job, his routine, his money--everything he had known--had to be left in order to go on with Jesus. We all know how the story ends. The man walks away from his opportunity, from Jesus' offer, from Jesus himself, sad. Sad because he already knew that his life was empty and hadn't given him real life, still sad the hold his possesses had on him were more than his desire for something greater could defeat. Maybe he had a mortgage he had to pay so he couldn't follow Jesus. I don't know, but instead of trusting that Jesus loved him and had his best life possible in store for him, a life so great that no thing could compare with it, he chose what he knew and went back to his same old weekly routine that, though never fully satisfying, promised tangible, visible, earthly hopes.
"He humbled you causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known,"
You know, Jesus is still offering us something greater than what we have known. It is an offer that still stands and many of us come to church each week and each week leave the offer on the table so we can go back to our schedules that dictate what we must do in order to have good things in life, the things we believe will make us happy. But all our things we can't leave cannot give us true fulfillment and the joy of living out our God-given purpose. Only living life with Jesus can do that. But the offer is still contingent on us leaving what we have known and worked for, but what we also know is only temporarily satisfying and coming into the great mystery of Christ. You don't have to keep coming and leaving church each week unchanged and unhappy. The truth is your not just leaving church each week sad but your walking away from Jesus as he welcomes you to come follow him. There's more for you if you would just take that leap of faith.
At the end of it all I think we'll all be surprised at just how short life actually was. Let's do something crazy and go with Jesus.