The Cost of Discipleship
Luke 14:25-33, "And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them, If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple."
The above passage teaches us three things about serving the Lord. First, we notice that true discipleship is a costly thing. As Americans we have been blessed to enjoy great prosperity and live out our lives relatively sheltered from the harsh realities that many of God’s people are faced with on a daily basis. But this blessing does not negate our responsibility to daily sacrifice our time, energy and resources to His service. In other words, we need to be prepared to ‘get our hands dirty’ if called upon in the Kingdom of God.
Next, Jesus teaches us that discipleship is a planned commitment to do what is right. Most areas of discipleship require conscious effort on our part to make it happen. Take church attendance for example. I generally enjoy meeting with the saints on Sunday morning. But, there are times when I don’t feel like putting forth the effort to go (don’t be shocked, even preachers have bad days). Maybe I am physically ill, or did not sleep well the night before. Irregardless, barring any major roadblocks, God’s word instructs us to assemble as the church. I understand this because I have committed it to memory from previous Bible reading or preaching. I have also asked the Lord to give me strength to endure the inevitable difficulties that occur in life and to enable me to go forward when I do not feel like it. We will never experience sustained service to God and effective ministry towards one another without planned commitment.
Thirdly, we can safely say that discipleship, whatever the cost, is worth the price. It is amazing to consider the great lengths that one will take to gain the things of the world. We work long hours to buy things that will soon decay due to time and use. We pursue pleasures that provide diminishing joy and distraction at best. My friends, there is nothing inherently wrong with enjoying the material things in life. But let us keep them in proper perspective. Bearing the cross of discipleship is far more enduring than these things.
Can you recall the joy experienced at sharing the wonderful truth of the finished work of Christ with a friend or relative? Perhaps you were able to give a comforting word to another during a time of distress. Or maybe you were blessed to share of your material blessings with another in their hour of need. These pursuits bring far more joy than any worldly pursuit. I pray that the Lord will bless us to count the cost of discipleship and realize its benefit.
Elder Michael Green
Ft. Wayne PBC, Indiana