By Donnie Scearce

Donnie is the director of Pioneers Canada and is based in Dorchester, Ontario.

I have been rereading the One Year Bible again and even as I’m still early in the New Testament portion, I have been struck more than once at the level to which Jesus challenged His disciples to abandoned devotion.

Each one chose to give up in order to go forward with Jesus. Consider for a moment James and John. Jesus passed by and called them and “they immediately left the boat and their father and followed Him.” (Mt. 4:22)

Having had the opportunity to visit unreached fishing villages off the coast of Brazil, Senegal, and Sumatra, Indonesia, I can tell you for sure that when James and John left their boat, they left behind a lot more than meets the eye.

They left their family, their occupation, and in many ways, their way of life. Everything they had hoped for to this point, they abandoned.

Their actions demonstrated their willingness to devote their significance and security, and in fact, their very lives to Jesus Himself. And amazingly, they did so “immediately.”

Want to go forward with Jesus? Then give up. The two go hand in hand. Wholehearted obedience most often demands some kind of sacrifice along the way.

I first met Andrew and Lisa at a mission conference where they were staying long after the meeting finished and were praying together.

I eventually went up and joined them. To my surprise and pleasure, they were praying for one of the most closed and spiritually needy nations of the world.

Behind the scenes, Andrew’s dad had high expectations for his future. And Andrew is smart and disciplined, clearly competent to make a significant contribution to the family business.

The cost of their obedience would mean the loss of a promising and lucrative business career and misunderstanding with Andrew’s family.

Like James and John though, Andrew and Lisa knew Jesus was calling! They joyfully surrendered to the Lord Jesus during their college days and haven’t looked back. Now, for over seven years, they have served among the Muslim people they were praying for that night at the conference!

The giving up doesn’t stop there. Andrew and Lisa and their three small children were in an area hit by the December 26 tsunami.

Their lives were spared but the part of the nation where they were living wasn’t. I’m sure they would be grateful if you would pray for them as they continue to faithfully go forward with Jesus to demonstrate His love.

One final and interesting point … Jesus said:

“If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for me, you will find it.” (Mt. 16:25 NLT)

If you ask Andrew and Lisa or hundreds of other modern message bearers, they almost never speak of sacrifice or giving up. The joy of obedience far exceeds the cost.

The need among the world’s most needy people is urgent. Jesus is calling and the degree of our devotion determines our response. The new year is a great time to evaluate and recommit ourselves to Christ alone. It all starts (and finishes) there.

Is there anything that goes ahead of Jesus in the overall direction and day to day priority of our lives? If so, let’s ask Him to reveal this to us and with fresh faith, immediately commit ourselves to a life of abandoned devotion.

All those who sign on the line with Christ must give up to go forward.

One SVM2 value reads: “Lifelong Devotion”: SVM2 emphasizes devotion to Christ, manifested in a lifelong habit of time alone with Him and wholehearted commitment to obedience, whatever the cost.”

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