Please Don't Ring the Bell
Dr. John K. Mathew
It all started by Jesus calling a few men to follow him. Remarkable as it may seem, Jesus started to gather these men before he ever organized an evangelistic campaign or even preached a sermon in public. Men were to be his method of winning the world to God. In the words of Robert E. Coleman, "The initial objective of Jesus' plan was to enlist men who could bear witness to his life and carry on his work after he returned to the Father. John and Andrew were the first to be invited as Jesus left the scene of the great revival of the Baptist at Bethany beyond the Jordan". Andrew, in turn, brought his brother Peter. The following day Jesus found Philip and Philip found Nathaniel. Coleman continues, "Jesus expected the men he was with to obey him. They were not required to be smart, but they had to be loyal. This became the distinguishing mark by which they were known. They were called his ‘disciples' meaning that they were 'learners' or 'pupils' of the master”. Following Jesus seemed easy enough at first, but that was because they have not followed him very far. In practice following Jesus is not an easy task. it requires absolute surrender and submission to the will of God. They have to undergo severe training and discipline. In short, disciple means one who is strictly disciplined by a hard master.
William H. McRaven a US Navy Admiral (retired) has written a book named "Make Your Bed', in which he describes the severe training a SEAL has to go through to be a better SEAL. SEAL means Sea-Air-Land commandos. A brief excerpt is given below cited by David Jeremiah in his book 'Life Beyond Amazing". "I stood at attention along with the other 150 students beginning the first day of SEAL training. The instructor, dressed in combat boots, Khaki shorts, and a blue and gold tee shirt, walked across the large asphalt courtyard to a brass bell hanging in full view of all the trainees.' "Gentlemen, he began. Today is the first day of Seal training. For the next six months, you will undergo the toughest course of instruction in the United States military. I glanced around and could see some looks of apprehension on the faces of my fellow students. The instructor continued. You will be tested like no time in your life. Most of you will not make it through. I will see to that. He smiled. I will do everything in my power to make you quit. I will harass you unmercifully. I will embarrass you in front of your teammates. I will push you beyond your limits, and there will be a pain. Lots of pain. But if you don't like the pain all you have to do to quit is ring that bell three times". Six months later, there were only thirty-six of us standing at graduation. some had taken the easy way out. They had quit. It takes only six months of training to become a SEAL. But it takes lifelong commitment to follow Jesus as a disciple.
Please don't ring the bell.