Cost of Discipleship
By Andrew Bolton, Council of Twelve Apostles
Now large crowds were traveling with him; and he turned and said to them, “Whoever comes to me and does not leave his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. …So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions. —Luke 14:25–27, 33 NRSV, adapted
Following Jesus is costly, and Jesus candidly states that we should carefully consider this before we embark on the path of serious discipleship. Our temptation is always to reduce discipleship to something more comfortable and reasonable.
We naturally want to avoid the demands of giving up family, risking a horrible death, and giving up all our possessions. Just committing to one of these is bad enough. Any one of these makes me hesitate. Jesus asks for all three.
Is it possible?
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German pastor, lived through the very difficult times of Nazi Germany. He could have escaped to friends in Britain or the USA, but he felt he had to be a witness and give ministry amid the evil in that era. The Nazis imprisoned and later executed him. He wrote his famous book, The Cost of Discipleship, and personally witnessed the kingdom of God during the most difficult times. I pray for such courage.
Prayer for Peace
Infinite challenging God, what will be the cost of discipleship for us? Help us make hard choices and sacrifices for the mission of Christ’s peace.
Spiritual Practice: Develop Disciples to Serve
As disciples of Jesus Christ, our call is to respond to people and their needs. Pray about using your skills to help the mission of the community. As you feel affirmed, thank God for the opportunity to be a responding, serving disciple while you move into the outward journey.
Today, God, I will accept a challenging task in service to you.