Dean Kuest – Glendale Campus Pastor
No matter who you are, no matter what you believe in or don’t believe in, no matter what your background, everyone is devoted to something. How do we know what we ought to be devoted to and what does that look like?
I know what devotion looks like… I wrestled in high school. Not the chair over the head ridiculousness you see on TV. I’m talking about the real deal as seen in high schools and colleges across the country. The school I attended, Peoria High School, has always been known for it’s wrestling program (in fact, a guy I wrestled with went on to adorn the cover of a Wheaties box and win national and international wrestling meets representing the United States). As a freshman, I had never wrestled a day in my life. I was a baseball guy. But the varsity baseball coach, who lived across the street from me (and who my dad baptized at our church) told me he was the freshman wrestling coach and that I needed to wrestle in order to get in shape for baseball (#overkill). So I wrestled for four years of high school.
It is important for you to know there is a distinction that needs to be made here between those who, like me, wrestled, and those who were wrestlers. I was not a wrestler. I wrestled. I went through the motions of getting in shape, learning the moves, making weight and participating with our team. I won some and lost more. I learned what devotion was by watching the wrestlers. They didn’t just wrestle, they were devoted to wrestling. They honed their craft. They went running in the morning before school and then ran immediately after school before practice (to warm up). The wrestlers were determined that nobody would work harder than them and would be in better shape in an overtime match after three grueling periods. They wore plastic sweats and jumped rope under a heater to get down to their ideal weight. This is why I am always careful to tell people that I wrestled in high school, not that I was a wrestler in high school. There is a big difference.
Some might see the devotion of the wrestler as misplaced but I for one am thankful that I was able to witness it. It is the kind of devotion that I desire for what I consider to be truly important.
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. – Acts 2:42
Apostles Teaching – The early believers were devoted to hearing from the twelve guys who had spent over three years with Jesus. They saw every miracle, heard every message and had regular private conversations with Him. Today, our devotion must still be to the words of The Word who was made flesh. Drink them in. Eat them for sustenance. Live them in a world that does not accept them.
Fellowship – People matter more than things. Devote yourself to people. Draw strength from those who are headed the same direction in life. Don’t be a Lone Ranger – you need people and people need you.
Breaking of Bread – The early church prioritized remembering the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. It pulls our priorities back into focus when we live in a world that encourages those priorities to be scattered. It is also a reminder to all of us that we are equal as we come to the cross of Jesus. There is no hierarchy. There are none who deserve it more, none who are loved more. We are all broken and in need of a Savior.
Prayer – Life is not about me and what I want. Life is about the plan that our Creator put into place the moment sin entered the world – bringing redemption to all. Prayer is the humbling of myself and my desires and submitting my heart to His desires.
When it comes to following Jesus, do you wrestle or are you a wrestler? Let me ask it another way…
Are you a fan of Jesus or are you devoted to becoming a disciple?