The Great Divider

Luke 12:49?53 (51)

Francis Bernardone was the son of a wealthy cloth merchant.  His father had dreams of his son being a soldier.  Proud of his son, he was sure that Francis would rise quickly in the military ranks.  His problem, however, was that Francis kept going to church to pray, asking for God’s guidance.  Eventually Francis determined that he would serve in God’s army instead.  God wanted him to serve the poorest of the poor.  Reading the scripture, he felt that the command to the rich young ruler was meant especially for him, so he sold all that he had and gave it to the poor.  He even began to dress and live like a beggar.

Needless to say, Francis’ father was very unhappy.  He had his son thrown in jail and then took him to court.  Francis of Assisi, as he had become known said, “No longer is Pietro Bernardone my father for, from now on, my father is in heaven.” 

We may admire the courage of Francis of Assisi, the venerated Italian friar of the 12th century (1181-1226) but must realize that his pain was real and lasting.  He experienced the division that is often felt by those who follow Jesus without reservation.  Jesus did not disguise the fact that serving Him would involve sacrifice, pain, and cost.  We serve Him with our eyes wide open.

By Dr. Gayle Woods

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