The Bible Reader’s Companion, by Lawrence O. Richards, states that the “key verse” for the first chapter of I Peter is: “1:13: the antidote to materialism.” Eager to discover the advice, I read through to verse thirteen: “Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.”
Where is our “hope” placed? Again, is God our everything? Or is our hope in the acquiring and gathering of goods? Is it in the comfort of a spacious, luxurious home? Is it in the squirrelling away of money and “loot” to be “assured” of a safe and secure future? Peter talks extensively about living “as strangers here;” as my commentary states, “A Christian’s home is heaven. Our hopes are not centered in what will happen to us in this world, but the inheritance we will receive when Jesus returns.” According to verse four, that inheritance “can never perish, spoil, or fade;” unlike any—no, every—item we could possibly purchase for ourselves on this earth.
I was also struck as I read the account in Luke of Jesus calling his disciples. Peter, James and John “left everything and followed him” (5:11). Levi (otherwise known as Matthew) “left everything and followed him” (5:28). This aroused my curiosity, so I began to search the other gospels for their descriptions.
- In Matthew: “At once they left their nets and followed him.” (4:20)
- “and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.” (4:22)
- “and Matthew got up and followed him.” (9:9)
- As He sends his disciples out: “Do not take along any gold or silver or copper in your belts; take no bag for the journey, or extra tunic, or sandals or a staff…” (10:10)
- Peter reminds Jesus later: “We have left everything to follow you!” (19:27)
- The Gospel of Mark concurs: “At once they left their nets and followed him.” (1:18)
- “…and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.” (1:20)
- “…and Levi got up and followed him.” (2:14)
Are we prepared to leave, too? Are we prepared to go where He calls us, when He calls us, immediately? Are we prepared to leave all this stuff behind as we follow Him; follow His leading and His calling to where He wants us to be? How tightly are we holding on to the things around us? Or are we holding them out in open hands, ready to give it all to Him if that is what He asks of us?