I think that it is only fair to warn you in advance that God has been really beating me up about discipleship, commitment and what it truly means to be a disciple of Jesus. I don’t like it – being beaten up, that is. I don’t like the things the Lord says about what it takes to be His follower. While I can wish he’d not said such things, I can’t deny the fact that He said them. So, in the coming weeks, I’ll be sharing some thoughts on occasion about what Jesus said on this vitally important topic.
A missionary went to a remote, desperately poverty-ridden area in West Africa. While there, he appealed for those who were present to join in support of Christian work throughout the area and encouraged them to give whatever they could toward the construction of a building which would serve as a medical clinic and a place of worship. Approximately two hours after the worship service concluded, a young woman came to the missionary and handed him $40 for the building project. The missionary was stunned. Where on earth, he wondered, did this woman come up with such a large sum of money in a region afflicted by painfully forbidding circumstances? Confounded, he asked her as politely as he could where she’d gotten that much money. She told him that she had gone to a wealthy planter and sold herself into his service for the rest of her life.
Let me be real clear about what I just said: she had sold herself into the service of a landowner until the day she died. Why? This was her way of giving herself into the service of Jesus Christ. Not partially, but totally.
We live in a country where we can practice our faith cheaply. We live in a country where we risk virtually nothing as disciples of Jesus. But are we truly his followers? Oh, I know how easy it is to say “I want to follow you, Jesus. I want to be your disciple.” Why is it easy to say that? Because it costs us nothing to say it. We don’t value things that come easily, cheaply or free. We value things when we have to pay a large sum for it. Think about it: if you were to purchase a disposable camera for $10 or a Nikon D3 for $2000, which do you think you would value most? The Nikon, surely. Why? Because it cost you something.
Discipleship is the same way. We don’t treasure it and cherish it very much in America because we don’t have to pay anything for our faith. But Jesus is blatantly clear about what it means to be his disciple. Here’s just one such passage: So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple. – Luke 14:33 With Jesus, discipleship is an all or nothing deal…either “Yes” or “No.” There is no third choice.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that Jesus was talking only to those in the first century, or to his immediate 12 disciples when he said that. Read the verse again: So therefore, ANY ONE OF YOU…cannot be my disciple.
What have you given up to be His disciple? What are you willing to give up?
PRAYER: Jesus, your words about what it means to be your disciple are extremely challenging and frightening. I want discipleship to be easy and painless. I don’t want to hurt, I don’t want to have to pay a great price to follow you. But I can’t ignore your words. Give us the courage we need through Your Spirit to grow in discipleship and commitment – no matter the cost. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright by 2011 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>