WHY I FOLLOW JESUS…
BY MIKAL FARLEY, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
Because Love. I follow Jesus because Hope. Because it gives me Joy. Because it’s the promise of Peace. Because You are Worthy and that’s the story I want to share.
I was fortunate to be born into a loving, caring family of believers. My Mother and her family, my father’s family and my My Grandfather (Don Farley) and Grandmother (Nancy Farley) have been guides and mentors in my spiritual journey. They helped lay the foundational roots of who I am today.
I cannot say I am the same person today as I was yesterday or that my beliefs haven’t evolved. I can say that I am here today because I am part of a community that invites you in just as you are. It’s not my goal to change you or your beliefs. It’s not my goal to get rid of your ‘sin.’ I sit in the pew next to you broken. I sit in the pew as a disciple, a follower, knowing I’m not perfect – and knowing that’s ok.
I sit beside you knowing that even though I am imperfect; the promise of the Bible tells me that’s ok. I’m not here to cast a judgmental glance towards you or even second guess you in what you are doing. I’m here as an equal to you. As a follower, as an individual on a spiritual path. I’m here to share with you, that you are worthy, and that you have value just because you are you.
Earlier this year I was able to spend a couple days with my ailing mother. I was able to ask her some questions about my past and her past; and questions about what she was most proud of and what were some of her biggest challenges. My mom had just been placed on hospice, and I wanted to find out what actually drove my mom. Why was she the individual who she was, and what is it that she wanted me to carry on to my daughter and we recorded part the conversation. (listen to just a portion below – a charge to Adelyn)
Love and Family; that’s what mattered most to my mom. She had time and time again throughout her life, set aside her wants and needs to give to others. She lived her life as a life of servitude. She lived her life in a manner of respect and dignity for all persons. Even though she faced trials and tribulations throughout; she still knew she was loved by an unimaginable, unalienable Love. Though, my mother passed away just five days after that conversation, my faith remains in place
My mother was driven as a disciple to share in love. She time after time would go without so that my brother and I could have wants when sometimes she wouldn’t fulfill her own needs. We didn’t know it at the time, she said that she say anything. But her selfless acts, were acts of love.
7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.
Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.
8 Whoever does not love
does not know God,
because God is love.1 John 4: 7-8
John 16:15 NRSV reminds us of Jesus’ words:
You did not choose me, but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last.
I don’t follow Jesus for the sensationalism or the mountaintop experiences. I follow Jesus to tell others the good news. I’m not proclaiming to do so all the time or without hesitation, but I feel the urge and the nudge to go. Jesus calls all of us to step outside our comfort zones. He calls our names and asks, “Will you come with me?”
Philippians 4:13 NRSV reads “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Jesus broke down barriers, challenged cultural norms – he was a religious radical (an extremist) – a healer, a mentor, a guide. Perhaps more than anything – a Teacher and one whom offers empowerment.
I follow Jesus because His mission is my mission. I do it because spreading His word brings me Joy. Jesus is the embodiment of God’s love – a shared love – a love that meets you in your circumstance and offers shelter, embrace, joy, hope, and peace.
THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME,
BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR.
HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE CAPTIVES,
AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND,
TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED,
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5150 Moller Road Indianapolis, IN