30 September 2011
Today’s Reading: Zechariah 10-12; Psalm 126; Luke 14
25 A large crowd was following Jesus. He turned around and said to them, 26 “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. 33 So you cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own. (Luke 14:25-27, 33 NLT)
If I take seriously what Jesus is saying when I read through the gospels—if I stop and really think it through—it’s not always easy to take on board.
First, in our age of affluence, most of us are not accustomed to having to give up one thing in order to have another. We’re used to having it all.
Second, we’re taught that we must have a dream, an American Dream if you live in the USA. We must have ambitions, plans, and goals, and we must never give up our dream.
Third, we’re conditioned to be consumers who pick and choose from a variety of sources, not disciples who submit unreservedly to the will and way of another. We learn from a thousand sources, we follow fads and not Masters, and we’ve learned to assimilate many ideas and values into our own philosophies.
It’s not so easy to glibly read the Bible if I have to think about what it’s actually saying. I want to think of myself as a disciple of Jesus Christ, as one who is fully committed to “following” him (whatever that really means).
But when Jesus just says it simply as he does in Luke 14:33, I realize again that “simple” is not necessarily easy. Following Jesus is not merely one of the many things I must fit into my busy life. Following Jesus is the core reality of my life and all the other things must fit around that central reality. It’s simple. It’s not easy! It’s how it is.
Father, I want to be a disciple of Jesus. I give you what is dearest to me and I step out on the dusty road of discipleship again this morning. It’s a little scary when I take it this seriously. I purpose to follow Master Jesus today. And tomorrow. Amen.