25Now large crowds were traveling with [Jesus;] and he turned and said to them, 26“Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. 27Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. 28For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it? 29Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him, 30saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31Or what king, going out to wage war against another king, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32If he cannot, then, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for the terms of peace. 33So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions.”
When I felt the call to attend seminary, I had just one problem – I had not completed my undergrad. Well, it just so happened that Northern Kentucky University was only about 20 minutes from where we lived. So, I applied, and it was the beginning of my journey…
However, at that time, our sons were in the 9thand 10thgrade, and our daughters in the 3rdand 4thgrade. Bob’s job required him to travel for most of the week. It wasn’t long after I started school full time, I began working at Procter and Gamble full time, as well – not to mention, my job as a mom was full time –
I get tired just thinking about those days. No doubt, there were times I knew that “I bit off more than I could chew. There were times that I knew I underestimated when considering the costs.
It was only by the grace of God, that I completed what I had set out to do – graduate with honors so that I may be accepted into graduate school – Seminary.
You have heard the saying, “Don’t Bite off more than you can chew!” A saying that often means…be careful that you don’t try to do something that is too much or too difficult for you…Don’t bite off more than you can chew.
I wonder if this is possibly what Jesus was trying to say to the crowds today as they surrounded him…“Listen…be careful that you don’t bite off more than you can chew!If you want to be my disciple – there is a lot, you have to deal with –
Because you can’t become my disciple if you don’t….
Hate your mom, dad, sister, brother, spouse, children –
Hate your life!
You cannot become my disciple if you don’t pick up your cross and follow me.
You cannot become my disciple unless you give up all of your possessions.
Honestly, I’m not sure I would want to stay seated in the pew right now after hearing this text. If it was Jesus’ intention to weed-out those who were serious about becoming His disciple, this just may have done the trick.
Consider the cost right now! I’m giving you an out! I’m giving you an opportunity to walk out and get out of a situation that you cannot finish to completion if the pressure is too much for you! If it’s more than you can chew…here’s your chance…
But, if you think you can do it…
Here are the requirements:
Must hate mother, father, sister, brother, spouse, and children.
Must hate life itself.
Must carry the cross and follow Jesus.
Must give up all your possessions.
Consider the costs!
I mean after all, it’s like anything else – right. We didn’t just decide to start to build a new fellowship hall until we sat down and considered what it would costs us. We had to know if we could afford it! And, come on – let’s face it! It’s always more costly than what we would expect. All kinds of things show up that we didn’t think about or consider in our calculations –
So, when considering the costs to be a disciple for Jesus, make sure you leave room for incidentals – I’m also thinking that you may want to think about if you are a risk-taker or not – there’s an awful lot of risk to consider – like – Where you will sleep? What will you eat? Think about it…you won’t have any possessions…You gave them all up!
You know…I don’t think there were too many disciples with Jesus as He made his way up the cross. Where were the 12 who had been with him?There was not a single person or disciple with Jesus that day as He was nailed to the cross –
I don’t know about you – but, I’m thinking there were quite a few, including the disciples themselves, that bit off more than can chew.
Let’s face it! It’s too hard!
I cannot do this list of requirements that Jesus wants me to do –
I’ll be honest, I’m not willing to give up my possessions.
I love my family.
And, can I really carry the cross? Am I willing to die for the sake of the Gospel and Jesus Christ? If a gun is pointed to my head, would I be willing to proclaim Christ as my Lord and Savior? While I certainly would like to think so – to die to this life, would be frightening.
Consider the costs.
You know, here is the thing…I believe that Jesus knew that in no way you and I could possibly do these requirements. And, while Jesus is not asking us to do anything that He has not done himself, He is God – and we are just mere human beings.
Besides, how can God tell us to honor our mother and father – but now we are told to hate them? How can Jesus tell us to love one another and now we are to hate them?
Therefore, what in this world does Jesus want from us!
I had a young girl in confirmation in my first congregation. She was not confirmed because she said that she did not believe in God. I did everything that I knew to try and help her see how much God loved her.
One day, she blurted out in one of our discussions, “Gees…what does God want from me! You would think He wants my HEART!”
I about fell out of my chair! Yes, Yes! That’s exactly right! God wants your heart! God wants your allegiance. God wants a relationship with you! God wants you to be transformed from things of this world to things of our eternal world!
You see, Jesus knew that we could not meet the requirements as specified.
But what He does want is our hearts –
- Love me more than you love your family.
- Do what it takes to proclaim the Gospel – even if it means getting out of your comfort zone –
- Know that suffering, pain, trials and tribulations are only a part of this world – but not the world I am about to offer you.
This will be really hard, Jesus says. The things of this world will want to consume you.
…but here is the there…My face is set for Jerusalem. With or without you, I’m on my way to the Cross. It is the Cross that will bring you GRACE.
I want YOU so badly in my kingdom and for you to be with me – that I’m willing to climb up on that cross – all by myself –
So that my GRACE will be poured out abundantly – over and over again – ON YOU, FOR YOU, and WITH YOU!
When I made the decision to go to seminary and complete my undergrad – looking back, I know I bit off more than I could chew…Ask my husband and children how many times I said I wanted to quit – It was too hard…
While I thought I had considered the cost – there were a lot of incidentals that I had not considered –
The sacrifices that my family made –
The financial burden –
And, the time I lost with my children growing up –
After graduating Cum Laude, I knew it was only by the grace of God that I had completed what I set out to do…
Be my disciple. Know the call is costly. Don’t give up but give it all you got. Recognize that – through your baptism – where the journey starts, your choices are shaped by the waters where Christ claimed you as HIS CHILD!
As a disciple and a beloved child of God. Jesus says, I want your heart! I want your allegiance.
I want you because I created you and I love you!
I knew you even in your mother’s womb.
I have called you by name and you are mine.
Be my disciple. The journey will be costly, difficult, and hard…And, there will be times that you will want to give up and quit.
But my grace will be enough. It will be all you need.
God’s Grace. God’s amazing GRACE will carry you…carry us… to the completion of our discipleship.