Today’s Reading: Luke 14-16
Today’s Reflection: Luke 14:27-30
27) Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 28) For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? 29) Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30) saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’
One of the common criticisms of religion in general, and Christianity in particular, is that it is irrational. Here is one teaching that demonstrates this is a misconception. As Jesus invites all to follow Him and enter the kingdom of God, He also warns them that there is a cost to discipleship. In a very practical teaching, Jesus tells His would be followers the importance of understanding this and taking it into account BEFORE making a decision. And then Jesus explains what the cost of discipleship actually is. And in short, the cost is everything.
If we truly want to follow Jesus and live out God’s purposes for our lives, we will have to surrender everything. Everything we know, everything we are, everything we have, everything we could be. We must be willing to let all of this go for the sake of the Gospel. Wealth, career, status, even family and friends.
Many of us accept surrendering our claim on material wealth (some more easily than others), but all of us likely find the idea of surrendering relationships challenging. This is a difficult text to swallow:
Luke 14:26 – “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.”
As we ponder this challenging teaching, consider that everything that exists is God’s. So if you are called to service that forces you to sacrifice time in key relationships, or to end some of those relationships altogether, know that God has a plan for the people left behind. Their care is ultimately God’s responsibility. If God has partially for fully removed you from the equation, He will find another way to meet their needs.
Also consider the witness that your willingness to sacrifice provides to the world. We live in a society where the most deeply held convictions and values are easily tossed aside for selfish concerns. The witness of people willing to sacrifice everything is a powerful testimony of the life-changing and life-giving importance of the Gospel.
Romans 12:1 – I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.