This week’s reading comes from Luke 13 & 14. Here we will focus on Jesus teaching about the high cost of being his disciple in Luke 14:25-35.
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters – yes, even their own life – such a person cannot be my disciple.” – Luke 14:26
How many people want to use this as the motto their outreach program? Nobody would ever try to recruit followers by saying something so shocking, especially when you consider the great emphasis this culture placed on family!
Jesus makes it clear that in comparison to our love and complete commitment to him, everything else in this life should look like we hate it. Please don’t try to make Jesus say something he doesn’t here. He’s not telling you to abandon your children and spouse as he speaks on that elsewhere (Lk. 18, Lk. 16).
What Jesus is saying is that nothing should be a greater priority in our lives than our complete commitment to following and seeking to be just like him. Nothing! I’ve heard Christians say things like, “My family is everything to me. I’d do anything for them.” I’m glad they have a strong commitment to their family, which seems to be so lacking in our society. But will that same person step up and lead their family in following Christ above anything else rather than always do whatever the family wants?
I heard someone say long ago that Satan’s most effective tool in the world today is to get us so busy and so focused on good things that we don’t have time for God. I think that person is exactly right. Jesus said nothing comes before our commitment to him. Not family vacations, not rest and relaxation, not travel sports, not family. Nothing.
Jesus uses the image of a king calculating whether he can win a battle against a much larger army. If the king can’t do that, he will negotiate a peace deal before entering into battle. He will count the cost and not proceed if he doesn’t think he can accomplish his goal safely.
“In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.” – Luke 14:33
Do we really have that level of commitment to Christ? I would say the vast majority of Christians do not. Most struggle to even give him one hour of their week! That is nowhere near what Jesus is calling his followers to give. Jesus wants everything! He wants all of you, and wants nothing else to even compete for his attention!
What happens if we don’t? We will be judged not fit for service and thrown out. (Lk. 14:34-35)
It’s that serious. So, what do you need to remove from your life so you can better follow Christ?