The Cost of Discipleship


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

“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. . .
Above all things that we ever own,
What matters most is God alone.

Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them He said, “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. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’ Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.” (Luke 14:25-33)

Reflection

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, 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 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.

Today’s Gospel is a lesson in self-denial. This basic requirement of discipleship 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. “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 in this life. 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 Jesus Christ, my Lord, is the wisest choice. Amen.

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