Among today’s teachings it was the “the cost of discipleship” portion that drew me in. After reading I sat still considering the multiplying effect of Jesus’ teaching. Jesus’ call to discipleship should never be entered into glibly.
I am wondering if today’s evangelical presentation about accepting Christ by praying a simple ‘sinner’s prayer’ is a distortion and downgrade from Jesus’ expectations. It seems Jesus expected a great deal more than a 30-second prayer.
Maybe it is okay to use the ‘sinner’s prayer’ as the entrance into discipleship, but a life of discipleship is much, much more. Too often, it seems, we allow people to think faith is simple and easy; all one needs to be saved is to pray the prayer.
Over and over again Jesus reminds His followers about the implications of following Him.
How hard it is to square Jesus’ words, “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 (26) with some of the family first and family at all cost teaching out there today.
I believe Jesus is using hyperbole to make a point that following Jesus MUST be our first and highest priority. I believe it is hyperbole because Ephesians 5 and Colossian 3 tell us to love our wives/husbands. Jesus himself chastises the Pharisees for declaring Corban money that should have gone to caring for parents (Mark 7:11). His point, which is still hard to follow, is that obedience to God must never be compromised in the name of family duties. This is only the first of Jesus’ words on the subject.
It seems that His intent might be to scare people from being disciples, and if not, that at least He is causing them to ‘count the cost’ which might cause some to give up. 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? (28) 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? 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. In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples (31-33)
Stepping out of the past into the present, I need to ask myself if I am compromising my discipleship in any areas for the sake of relationships or pleasures or…
Counting the cost was not only for followers in Jesus’ day, it is for followers in every day and age.
Jesus, Father, Spirit, help me be honest with myself about my discipleship of Jesus. In His name, I pray. Amen.