Archive for May 24th, 2023

Luke 14:25-33: Discipleship

Tuesday, May 23, 2023Grow.-Plant.-Discipleship

If we ever forget what it means to be a disciple, here is a quick summary; and some of these sayings are difficult to take.

Anyone who comes to me but refuses to let go of father, mother, spouse, children, brothers, sisters—yes, even one’s own self!—can’t be my disciple. Anyone who won’t shoulder his own cross and follow behind me can’t be my disciple.

We can see that following the Master means that God must be before all else, even our most intimate and longest relationships. I do not believe that Jesus is telling us that family is not important. I do not believe that we are to reject family and friends in order to be a good disciple. I do believe that if we must choose to pretend that all is well in an intimate relationship when it is not, then we must do what we know to be correct. We must exit this relationship but (and this is the hard part) we must continue to leave ourselves open to the possibility that the abusive people in our lives will transform.

Or can you imagine a king going into battle against another king without first deciding whether it is possible with his ten thousand troops to face the twenty thousand troops of the other? And if he decides he can’t, won’t he send an emissary and work out a truce?

We must pray that the impossible people and situations in our lives become temples for the Indwelling of the Spirit. We must pray that those who have abused us will find a softening in their hearts and an unbending in their necks. We may not walk away completely and cleanly, because Jesus does not walk away completely.

Is there anyone here who, planning to build a new house, doesn’t first sit down and figure the cost so you’ll know if you can complete it? If you only get the foundation laid and then run out of money, you’re going to look pretty foolish. 

What we reflect on here is this: in the calculus for building a good and holy temple we must not only plan for the solid foundation and protective walls, but the windows and doors which let in the light, the voice of God as it travels on the wind, and the people who come and go in our lives. We must allow for both solitude and community, justice and compassion. This is the Way of Discipleship.

Simply put, if you’re not willing to take what is dearest to you, whether plans or people, and kiss it good-bye, you can’t be my disciple.

DiscipleshipWe do not travel this way alone. As we peel away those people and influences which lead us astray rather than toward God, we look for fellow travelers of The Way. Yet even these friendships cannot come between ourselves and the one who created us. And even though we will always need one another’s help in remaining open to the resolution of the impossible people and situations, it is God who acts and moves in these fellow pilgrims to bring us pockets of consolation and refuge. As long as we place God before us each day, we will have a true path. As long as we abide by the Law of Love, we will know which way is the true way. This we need not doubt.

Each day, in each prayer we ask that God make us good and loyal servants. Each day, in each prayer we ask that God continue to show us the Way of discipleship.

This is the cost of discipleship. We do this in Jesus’ name. This is the cost of kingdom-building. We do this with and in the Creator. This is the cost of living in love. We do this through the transformative healing of the Holy Spirit. We will want to figure the cost of this way of life. Let us consider it well.  Amen.

Image from: https://blogs.thegospelcoalition.org/trevinwax/2014/06/23/4-marks-of-biblical-discipleship/ and http://www.safercommunitiesministry.org/programs/discipleship/

Adapted from a favorite from May 12, 2008.

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