DayBreaks for 03/29/11 – The Cost
“If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. 27 And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple. 28 “But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? – Luke 14:26-28
You’ve probably read or heard that passage before. Jesus is talking, as make clear by the first phrase, about the cost of discipleship. His point? It’s not cheap. It is costly. It involves things like crosses, and crosses were instruments of death and torment. He counsels us: …don’t begin until you count the cost. We are duly warned, if we are wise! Deitrich Bonhoeffer, in his very appropriately named book, The Cost of Discipleship, said “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” A clear reading of Jesus’ statements in the gospels is all that is needed to help us understand that Jesus believed the cost of being his disciple would be sky-high.
But, there’s a flip side to this that we need to keep in focus as well. In his work, Radical, David Platt observed, “But I wonder if the cost of discipleship is even greater. The price is certainly high for people who don’t know Christ…in a world where Christians shrink back from self-denying faith and settle into self-indulging faith.” He goes on to note that the cost of non-discipleship is also high for those who are poor and starving. The church in America owns over $230 billion in property and buildings. Over $10 billion is spent each year on new construction. How many mouths could be fed for that amount of money – and which would a disciple choose? Which do you think Jesus would choose – feeding the starving, or building a new educational wing or sanctuary? (Never in the NT did Jesus even suggest building a building as a place to worship God – on the contrary, as Platt notes we are to build people who are the new temple for His glory.)
The cost is great to Christians, too, if we fail to live as disciples. The wealth of this world may make an enticing incentive to ignore our Lord’s example in caring for the poor, but the parable of the pearl of great price or the buried treasure reveal to us what we LOSE if we aren’t willing to pay the price of discipleship.
To not be a follower of Jesus is a far higher price to pay than dying for Him could ever be.
PRAYER: Lord, we are fearful of the price of following too closely in Jesus’ footsteps for we fear what might happen to us if we do. Keep us mindful of the cost that will be paid, not only by us, but by those who don’t know Christ and who are poor in this world if we are unwilling to pay the price of discipleship! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
COPYRIGHT 2011, Galen C. Dalrymple ><}}}”>
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