Talk about a contradiction: Thomas Jefferson. He was an indispensable agent in the American Revolution, but he rarely spoke a word during the Constitutional Convention. He was quite possibly one of our greatest Presidents, but he did not even mention his Presidency on his headstone. He authored the now-famous words “all men are created equal” and yet owned well over one hundred slaves. He was very proud of his founding of the University of Virginia, but he was never satisfied with Monticello, his plantation estate. He called himself a disciple of Jesus Christ, but he denied Christ’s divinity and miraculous workings. Thomas Jefferson was and wasn’t. What a mysterious individual! Isn’t that one of the reasons we are so fascinated by his life? This morning, it is the buffet style approach to Jesus that I find so quirky. He liked some of Jesus (his exemplary life, his teachings), but not all of Jesus. He appreciated part of Jesus, but not the whole. His limited commitment to Christ reminds me of the account of the rich young ruler who came to Jesus one day (Lk. 18:18-30). You probaby remember the story. The guy was interested in Jesus and Jesus’ views on eternal life. He also liked Jesus’ reply to his genuine question. However, after the Lord Jesus explained the cost of discipleship to him, the man went away sad. He choose to keep his stuff rather than excange it for the pearl of great value (Mt. 13:46). In my opinion, Thomas Jefferson made the same decision. He refused to bear the reproach of Christ (Heb. 13:13). At this point, I have to ask myself the question: Am I or am I not? Am I truly a disciple of Jesus Christ, or am I attempting to approach Jesus in a buffet mentality? In reality, Jesus offers me no such option. The cost of discipleship is great (Lk. 9:57-62; 14:25-27), but the longer I follow Christ the more I realize how valuable HE is. I wish the rich young ruler would have seen that the treasures of Christ are greater than the treasures of this world (Heb. 11:26)). I wish the great Thomas Jefferson would have been willing to taste and see the Lord is good (Ps. 34:8). Today I desire to be an “Am” rather than an “Am not” because Jesus Christ is the “I AM.” I want to be consistent in my relationship with Christ instead of being a contradiction.
Reflectons on the Quest: Thomas Jefferson was and wasn’t