Going Deeper 9-6-19

Luke 14:25-33   Now large crowds were traveling with him; and he turned and said to them, "Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple.  Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.  For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it?  Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him, saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.'  Or what king, going out to wage war against another king, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand?  If he cannot, then, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for the terms of peace.  So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions.”

 

No more Mr. Nice Jesus?!  Among all of the challenging things said by Jesus, this might be at the top of the list.  One might even ask, where’s the love… where’s the grace? 

 

As always, context is everything.  The main point is this—salvation is free and easy (for us, that is; not for Jesus!), but discipleship is costly and challenging. 

 

Jesus has a lot to say to His followers about love and grace.  It is clear that we are saved because of God’s reconciling work through Jesus.  It cost God dearly.  For us, it is a free gift. 

 

Now, as children of God by grace—and in grateful response to that grace— we are called to truly become disciples/followers, and to make that calling central in our lives.  Even family relationships must be subordinated… which is what Jesus means by “hating.”  And for the earliest disciples, as well as many modern-day converts, following Jesus may cost them their relationships with family members.  Many were and are rejected for their faith.

 

Another major threat to our discipleship is the temptation for allowing “possessions” to take center stage in our lives, and pursuing more and more stuff distracts us from following Jesus.  The problem isn’t really with gaining possessions, but in hoarding them and not practicing the kind of compassionate generosity modeled by Jesus.  We need to let go of everything… which all truly belongs to God anyway, and learn how to steward what God entrusts to us in such a way as to be blessings to others.

 

In closing, I urge you to ponder the truth that what Jesus is calling us to here is good, and behind it all is love.  Living lives dedicated to discipleship brings meaning and joy and peace.  In truth, there is no better way to live!!

 

With You in His Service

 

Mark Gabbert, Pastor

Zion Lutheran Church, Wellington, Colorado

 

“No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.”