Two men remembered for serving others for Jesus left careers in the arts to commit themselves to where they believed God had called them. James O. Fraser (1886–1938) decided not to pursue being a concert pianist in England to serve the Lisu people in China, while the American Judson Van DeVenter (1855–1939) chose to become an evangelist instead of pursuing a career in art. He later wrote the hymn “I Surrender All.”
While having a vocation in the arts is the perfect calling for many, these men believed God called them to relinquish one career for another. Perhaps they found inspiration from Jesus counseling the rich, young ruler to give up his possessions to follow Him (Mark 10:17–25). Witnessing the exchange, Peter exclaimed, “We have left everything to follow you!” (v. 28). Jesus assured him that God would give those who follow Him “a hundred times as much in this present age” and eternal life (v. 30). But He would give according to His wisdom: “Many who are first will be last, and the last first” (v. 31).
No matter where God has placed us, we’re called to daily surrender our lives to Christ, obeying His gentle call to follow Him and serve Him with our talents and resources—whether in the home, office, community, or far from home. In Episode 3 of In Pursuit of Jesus, you’ll see Annahita Parsan’s devotional video, “Jesus, the Revolutionary”. She surrendered to God’s call to share the gospel in Sweden. As we submit to His call, He’ll also inspire us to love others.
Watch Episode 3 of In Pursuit of Jesus below and view Annahita Parson’s story.
A wealthy young man approached Jesus trusting that his good works had earned him a place in heaven (Mark 10:17–20). Correcting him, Jesus told him to give up his material wealth and to follow Him in order to receive “treasure in heaven” (v. 21). This got the disciples thinking. They’d left their families and professions to follow Christ (Matthew 4:18–22; 9:9). Peter said to Jesus, “We have left everything to follow you!” (Mark 10:28). Jesus affirmed that they’d certainly be rewarded for their sacrifices and they’ll have the very thing the rich young ruler desired—“eternal life” (vv. 17, 30). But He also warned them of the danger of pride (v. 31). They weren’t to think of themselves as “greatest” in the kingdom (9:33–34) because of their sacrifices and achievements and for following Him longer than anyone