Losing for a Greater Gain

Luke 14: 25-33
Rom 13:8-10 / Ps 112

Everyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be My disciple.
(Luke 14:33)

Not one of our closest relations,
Nor any of our prized possessions...
Among all things that we ever own,
Nothing matters more than God alone.

Jesus said, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, and even his own life cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.” (Lk.14:26-27). None of these words were meant to be figurative. Our love for God as the driving force of discipleship must be so intense that even our human loves would seem like “hate” by comparison. This, of course, is as difficult to understand as a disciple’s willingness to carry his cross (ministry) for Jesus’ sake. Indeed, to be His disciple is to prioritize Jesus above and ahead of everything and everyone — even if it means suffering, and loss of all that we hold dear. We find enough examples in the Bible about what our Lord is teaching. Abraham was called to leave his father’s house (Gen.12:4); Moses was called to leave his comfortable home in order to liberate God’s people. Our Lord Jesus Himself showed the supreme example of self-denial when He became man to be crucified for our redemption.

Reflection

Today’s Gospel is a lesson in self-denial for true discipleship. It would appear to be ‘self-hate’, but it is not. This basic requirement of being His follower means the willingness to leave our comfort zone (family), and forgo all conveniences, privileges, prestige or pleasure — for a higher purpose and a wiser choice.

If our level of self-denial is not increasing, we may not be growing spiritually. Unless we deny the pleasures and prestige offered by this world, we cannot honestly say that our involvement in and relationship with Christ are motivated and nurtured by His dying on the Cross. Only when we deny ourselves for Christ’s sake do we really appreciate what He did for us. Because “whosoever does not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be My disciple”.

Only when we have come to love Jesus above everything can we willingly break away from those we love and cling to. Because only then are we able to understand that they were just given to us as a gift, a gift that is not for our sole possession. Just as we can never “own” even our own children. As a matter of fact, as parents, we have to “let go” of our children, for their sakes, as well as for ours. It was very hard for my cousin to accept the death of his eleven-year old son, whose life was snuffed out by a speeding bus. We could only pray that in time this terrible loss would lead him to seek solace in our Lord Jesus, Whose grace is greater than his pain. If my cousin can bear this cross to become His disciple, then his loss will turn to a greater gain, and his son would not have died in vain.

Help us see, Father God, that all our possessions and relationships are but temporal and passing — only Your love is eternal. That is why following Your Son, Jesus Christ is the wisest choice. Amen.

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