Friday, August 10, 2007

Count the Cost - Eyes Wide Open

One half of knowing what you want is knowing what you must give up before you get it. ~Sidney Howard~

This quote came in an email this morning. The strange thing is that I just read the same quote somewhere else in the last few days. Hmm…could someone be trying to tell me something?

Life is full of choices. What we tend to forget is that there are always consequences to our choices.

In the passage in Luke 14:25-35, Jesus is telling a large crowd of people who are following him to count the cost. He seems to be telling them that it would be better for them to take some time to think about what it will require to be a disciple before they embark on the journey, than to only begin and then find that it is too hard.

26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters--yes, even his own life--he cannot be my disciple.”
33 “In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.”
34 “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?”
35 “It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” NIV

These were strong words for the crowd. It must have been hard for many of them to accept. The love and charisma that had to exude from Jesus caused many to want to follow Him. However, I don’t think it was ever a numbers game for Him. He did not have pews to fill or a building fund that needed members to contribute. He required much more than a few bucks in the offering plate. He wanted it all…all of their money and possessions, along with their total and absolute devotion.

Where did we ever get the idea that He expects less from us today? Some may think Jesus is asking too much, but we are still called to be His disciples. Not only are we called to be disciples, we are called to help others become disciples as well.

Discipleship is not easy and not everyone will be able to meet the requirements. Maybe we all need to spend some time reevaluating our lives and counting the cost of following Him. It may cost us everything we have. The things we hold on to are the things that hold us back. Can we afford to give it all up?

The bigger question is…can we afford not too?

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