The Cost of Following God’s Will

Luke 14:25-33
Phil 2:12-18 / Psa 27

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

None of our dearest relations,
Nor any of our prized possessions...
Among all things that we ever own,
Can matter more than God alone.

Large crowds were travelling with Jesus, and turning to them, He addressed them, “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, he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. Suppose one of you wants to build a tower; will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? Otherwise, after laying the foundation and unable to finish the work, the onlookers will ridicule him, saying, ‘This one began to build, but did not have the resources to finish.’ Or what king, marching into battle against another king will not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand troops? 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, everyone of you who does not renounce his possessions cannot be my disciple.” (Lk.14:25-33).

Reflection

Our Lord Jesus is not using a figure of speech here. Bluntly, He is telling us that our love for God must be so intense that our deepest human loves simply pale in comparison. This, of course, is as difficult to understand as a disciple’s willingness to follow Jesus and carry his cross for His Master’s sake. Indeed, to be His disciple is to place Jesus above and ahead of everything and everyone– even if it means suffering the loss of all that we hold dear in our life. 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). Jacob left his home to be the forerunner of the 12 tribes of Israel, and his son Joseph was sold as a slave to Egypt to save them all. Likewise, Moses was called to leave his comfortable home in order to liberate God’s people from the slavery of Egypt. Our Lord Jesus Himself showed the supreme example of self-denial when He left heaven and became a man to be crucified for our redemption.

Today’s Gospel is a lesson in self-denial, or what would appear to be ‘self-hate’. 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. As St. Paul advised the Philippians (first reading), “Do everything without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine like lights in the world” (Phil.2:14-15). 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”.

It is when we have come to love Jesus above everything that we can 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 “possess” 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 not only the wisest choice, but the only choice. Amen.

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