Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's founder and CEO, announced on his very own Facebook page his choice to become a vegetarian for an entire year. He stated that he likes to eat meat and in fact, eats it almost everyday. He went on to say that he would only eat meat from an animal that he, himself, killed. He announced this decision by indicating his desire to honor the lives of the millions of animals who give their lives everyday so that others can eat.
Now, as you take a moment to chew on this nugget of information (no pun intended), let me say that I can relate to Mark's rationale behind his new lifestyle choice.
Although I'm not sure of Mark's spiritual journey nor do I have any idea of his belief in God or not, I was struck at how his choice to practice a healthier way of eating looked a lot like the reason why I choose to live my life the way I do. When I made the choice to become a Christian, all I had to do was one simple thing - believe. "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life," says John 3:16 (NIV). Believing this verse to be true made me just that - a believer. But the Bible goes on to say that even the demons believe in Jesus. They even know of His true existence. Surely there is more to this Christian thing than just believing, right?
After reading Mark Zuckerberg's post, it hit me. Just like he made the very extreme choice to only eat meat from an animal he killed, himself. Just like he made this very extreme choice as a way to honor animals who give their lives everyday so that others can eat. So have I...except that my decision doesn't involve my diet. I, too, have chosen to live my life in honor of someone who has given His life, as well. Jesus. His name is Jesus. And years ago, He gave His life for me. He suffered because of my sins. It was something He had to do so that I could be forgiven, so that I could live with Him, so that I could know Him.
John 3:16 emphasizes the importance of believing. But it doesn't stop there. I mentioned already that the inhabitants of hell believe. There's more. Jesus said in Luke 9:23 (NIV), "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." In order for John 3:16 to have true meaning in my life, then I must be willing to do Luke 9:23. Believe, realize life is not about me, realize that everything is about Jesus, and follow. John 3:16 is about believing. Luke 9:23 is about following. Jesus was made to carry His cross to His death. The cross isn't just about His death. It's not even JUST about the physical suffering He had to endure. It's about the entire process. It's about His miraculous birth. It's about His life leading to His death. It's about how He was betrayed. It's about how He was hated and mocked and beaten. It's about the crown of thorns pushed down into His skull. It's about Him being made to carry that cross with bleeding stripes on His back up the hill to His place of death. It's about the nails hammered into His hands and feet. It's about the pain He suffered while hanging on the cross. But mostly, it's about the hours He had to endure while His Father turned His back so that His only Son could carry the weight of the world's sin as He hung on the cross.
"After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life, and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors." -Isaiah 53:11,12b (NIV)
Being a Christian is more than believing. It involves commitment. It requires sacrifice. It's about following. Thank you, Mark Zuckerberg for this beautiful anecdote. It couldn't have been more perfect. Just like Mark chooses to honor others with his healthy eating. I choose to honor the ONE who gave His life for me. It's not easy. It doesn't come without obstacles or resistance. But it's worth it. He's worth it. He's worth it because I was worth Him dying. But praise God! His plan didn't stop there. Jesus is alive! The love He had for me, for this world, helped Him conquer the grave. "What kind of love says that I'm the reason He can't stay inside the grave," Natalie Grant sings in her song Alive.
What kind of love? Only the kind that matters. Love that comes from the blood of Christ shed on the cross for you and for me. Love that conquered His death. Love that sits at the right hand of God. Love that commands that we share it with the world. This Love has a name and His name is Jesus.
Don't just believe. Follow. Follow Jesus.