a·ban·don 1.to leave completely and finally; forsake utterly; desert
In US Christian Pop-culture you practically need a CPC (Chrisitian Pop Culture) to English dictionary to wade through much of what we talk about. This is one word that has a habit to cause confusion. I remember when I was completing my third CD entitled “Depravity, Grace & Reckless Abandon,” when I sat with the project’s photographer discussing the project. It took awhile to break ground on the concept because I kept saying “abandon” and the photographer (a relatively new believer) didn’t understand. He expressed that when he thinks of abandon he thinks of a negative connotation, like he’s being left or deserted. Then a light turned on in my head…Abandon, while it has a much better connotation in today’s Western Christian culture, it is flipped from what we see in the non-Christian culture. The “Reckless Abandon” that I was referring to, of course, was giving up all for the sake of following Christ. Even when we look in the Bible, whenever we see the word “abandon” it is that negative concept of being left or deserted. Rather, the idea of abandon is a concept used to shorthand a wide spectrum of emotion.
Abandon is that moment of decision when you decide to “go for it.” It’s the feeling of jumping out of the plane, or the feeling of diving under a wave. It’s sitting in the dirt of a Middle Eastern city counting tax money when the new Rabbi in town says, “Follow me.” And for a second you look into His brown eyes and see that He means you and the moment is both urgent and utterly life changing. What you decide can completely shape the rest of your life…or the rest of history. It’s the defining moment, the now moment. In the second that lasts for a seeming eternity you feel the roughness of currency in your hand when you decide you will abandon all you have including your job security and comfort for an opportunity to follow after this Yeshua man. (Matthew 9:9)
Jesus makes abandon synonymous with following. Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, “The first Christ-suffering which every man must experience is the call to abandon the attachments of this world. … we surrender ourselves to Christ in union with His death—we give over our lives to death. … When Christ calls a man, He bids him come and die.” (The Cost of Discipleship)
Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.” (Mark 8:34-35)
Also, in Matthew 8:18-22:
When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake. Then a teacher of the law came to him and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.”
Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
One might say that this is a steep cost. But I’m convinced that all the great things in life: 1) will be hard, and 2) will cost something.
So, this moment is the now moment. Time to abandon. It’s time to go for it. I’d rather be with Jesus and no props than building a kingdom that won’t last without Him.