Lord, You are the only One worth following.
Read LUKE 14:25–35
The Cost of Being a Disciple
25 Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. 27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
28 “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? 29 For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, 30 saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’
31 “Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32 If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. 33 In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.
34 “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? 35 It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out.
“Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“As we embark upon discipleship we surrender ourselves to Christ in union with his death … When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship, Shepherd’s Notes, Christian Classics, Holman Reference, 1999, p.99)
Any audience of Jesus was well aware of what it meant to carry one’s own cross. Many saw a criminal forced to carry the cross to his execution site upon which he would die. So this saying of Jesus isn’t exactly trivial – it is meant to curb the enthusiasm of the crowds and get people thinking about why they are really following him. He even shocks them by implying that they will need to honor him more above their own family, and he compares discipleship to carrying the most familiar instrument of public execution.
It is foolish to undertake the building of a tower, or to go to war, without carefully thinking through what it will take to finish the project. In the same way, many begin to follow Jesus without fully weighing up what it might require of them. Tragically, they might abandon their faith when its full cost comes into focus. It is better to consider this cost carefully at the very outset and maybe decide not to embark on the journey, rather than to start enthusiastically only to fall off the wagon during the expedition.
Often, especially in the west, nominal Christianity is “a mile wide and an inch deep.” We know so much about Christ but, when push comes to shove, our commitment to follow him sacrificially lacks real substance. The Christian life is not trouble-free: it is full of great joy – but also of painful loss and cost. Discipleship is an invitation to death.
Is your faith in Jesus superficial? Jesus’ challenge is either to turn back, or go deeper. To follow Christ means total surrender to Him, even to the point of death. Be sure you’ve counted the cost of discipleship thoroughly so that your faith won’t waver when it becomes painful.
Lord, when the cost of following you to the end becomes a hard reality, grant us the endurance to finish.