Christ often begins His ministry to us as if we are children with needs to be met. This happened throughout the gospels as He restored the blind man’s sight, healed the bleeding woman, and fed the hungry crowds. He met suffering people right where they were and gave them just what they needed. This was reason enough for people to follow Him. Even some of the Pharisees followed Christ because of His miracles.
I personally was convinced to follow Jesus after He met my deepest need. As a teenager I became uncertain whether God was real. I had descended from a long line of ministers, so how could I be sure that my faith wasn’t just indoctrination from my parents? Jesus came to me in my hurting soul and showed me what I needed to know: that Buddha didn’t love me, nor did Mohammed or Confucius—but Jesus did. He revealed to me the pure truth of His love—and it turned my life around.
Jesus does bless us in our time of need. But, you see, that’s only His starting place in our lives. He takes us from blessedness to brokenness because it’s the only way to bring us to real maturity. The broken path is how we begin to take on His giving nature.
Let’s face it, our flesh hates the thought of a giving life because it requires brokenness. Think about all those bestsellers whose titles imply blessings. Now imagine a different title on the shelves, this one called The Giving Life. You think, “I want to be a giver,” so you flip through the pages. You read of Paul, who speaks of being shipwrecked, beaten and stoned because he was called to give. You read of the other apostles who were persecuted because Jesus called them to a giving life. As you read along you soon realize, “This is not going to be a bestseller.”
That much was proven in Jesus’ day. The crowds stopped following Him when He began preaching difficult truths (see John 6). When the people turned for the exits, “Jesus said to the Twelve, ‘Do you want to go away as well?’ Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God’” (John 6:67-69).
Jesus’ question puts us in the same position as the disciples. We have to trust that He is good and faithful. You see, we don't get to choose the agenda for our lives. If we did, we would all be getters, not givers. That’s why Jesus sets the agenda. And when He leads us down a hard path, we can be sure He does so in love.