The Cost of Non-Discipleship
"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. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple... In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples."
- Jesus in Luke 14:25-26,33
In Luke 14, Jesus lays down conditions for those who want to follow him. He says that "we need to love our family members less than we love him, bear our crosses and renounce all that we have."
It seems like an extreme response, but Jesus knew that his followers would face trials and would need to be willing to count their costs and persevere.
This was not an isolated incident in Jesus' ministry. In Luke 9, Jesus tells 3 prospective followers that they could expect homelessness if they became his disciples and that they would have to abandon their families without even getting an opportunity to say any farewells.
Furthermore in Mark 10, Jesus tells another potential follower that he should go and sell all of his possessions and give to the poor.
To become Jesus' disciple requires us to think less of ourselves in order to serve others. It is a selfless devotion that places the needs of others ahead of our own. It could possibly mean that we would need to give up a career or a way of life that we previously cherished. It might mean that we have to give up time, money or possessions that were previously valuable to us.
The cost of discipleship is clearly great. However, I would like to argue that the cost of non-discipleship is even greater.
When we choose non-discipleship, the lost suffer because we aren't willing to leave families and friends in order to take the name of Jesus to those in far-flung places of the world.
When we choose non-discipleship, the poor suffer because we selfishly buy bigger houses and better cars, but leave the poor without access to basic human needs.
When we choose non-discipleship, we suffer because we aren't able to experience the abundant life that Jesus offers us.
When we choose non-discipleship, we are choosing to harm both ourselves and others - everyone who Jesus came to die for: The saved and lost; the rich and poor; heterosexuals and homosexuals; the popular and unpopular; the religious and non-religious; christians and atheists; everyone.
|Image Source: Gift Habeshaw|