The Cost of Following Jesus

Luke 14: 25-33
Phil. 2: 12-18 / Ps 27: 1, 4, 13-14

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

None of our closest relations,
Nor any of our prized possessions...
Among all things that we ever own,
Nothing matters most than God alone.

Great crowds were travelling with Jesus, and He turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me, cannot be my disciple. Which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost, to see if there is enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, `This man began to build, and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and take counsel whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks terms of peace. So therefore, whoever of you does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:25-33)

Reflection

“If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he 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 must seem like “hate” in comparison. This, of course, is as difficult to understand as a disciple’s willingness to carry his cross (problems) for His Master’s 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 everything else we hold dear. We find enough examples of what our Lord is teaching in the Bible. 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.

Here is a precious lesson in total self-denial, which, in the eschatological realm our Lord is telling us is really worth nothing compared to its eternal reward in heaven. Discipleship is the willingness to leave our comfort zone (family), and forgo all conveniences, privileges, prestige or pleasure in this life 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 can never 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. “And whosoever does not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be My disciple”.

Only when we 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.

I know, Lord God, that all my possessions and relationships are but temporal and passing — only Your love is eternal. That is why, following Christ is the wisest choice.

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