A few days ago, on the 7th April, I talked about the price of Faith. I was reading about how the Lord knows what we need and has promised that when we “seek the kingdom of Heaven above all else he will give you all you need” (Luke 12:31) I was worried that I had taken a fairly positive lesson taught by Jesus, and been too negative by focusing on the stumbling block of the depth of faith you need to follow Jesus. But I needn’t have worried because Jesus himself takes that very point and goes much further with it. He says you must be prepared to sell all you own and leave your whole family behind. And as if that is not enough, he pushes the point further. He implies that to begin such a journey without the necessary strength of character and depth of faith, would inevitably be foolish, and to drop out half way would invite ridicule upon yourself and ultimately Jesus himself. It is a very stern warning that to follow Jesus is a tough choice and one must not expect it to be at all easy.
Luke 14:25-33 NLT
A large crowd was following Jesus. He turned around and said to them,“If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple. “But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it?Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you. They would say, ‘There’s the person who started that building and couldn’t afford to finish it!’ “Or what king would go to war against another king without first sitting down with his counsellors to discuss whether his army of 10,000 could defeat the 20,000 soldiers marching against him? And if he can’t, he will send a delegation to discuss terms of peace while the enemy is still far away. So you cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own.
I hope I can hear the stern warning that there may be trouble ahead, and still press on in faith. It has never been easy to step out in faith and follow Jesus in our world. A friend of mine recently pointed out that it can seem as if following Jesus turns our lives upside down. But in actual fact, it is our world that is upside down, and in following Jesus we are actively turning our lives right side up. Moving house causes complete upheaval and yet it is usually worth the effort, moving abroad to start a new life in a new country often involves leaving all your loved ones behind, but there is the hope of a better live waiting there for you. I like to hope that by stepping out in total and fully surrendered faith in Jesus, I will find the life I have always wanted waiting to welcome me after all the upheaval and everything else has been left behind.
Joshua 3:1-4:24, Luke 14:7-35, Psalms 80:1-19, Proverbs 12:27-28