Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The High Cost Of Discipleship

I preached about the “Where” of Spiritual Victory Sunday. Where can we find SV? Dab smack in the middle of God’s will. Jonah ran from God’s will, Paul stumbled into God’s wills, Demas forsook God’s will. Staying the course in God’s will requires a steadfastness and a devotion to the cause of discipleship. Sometimes the cost can be very high. Tradition tells us that every disciple of Christ, except John, was martyred. (The tradition says that Emperor Domitian attempted to kill the aged apostle but failed when God turned the pot of boiling oil into a relaxing sauna. Something I imagine the old boy really liked. In his youth Jesus called him Boanerges...a Son of Thunder. John regularly popped off at the mouth allowing his feelings to get ahead of his brains. He probably had mellowed in his octogenarian state and a hot Greek bath, I’m sure, suited him.) So the disciples were asked to pay the price of their lives.

Few of us today have been asked to sacrifice much. We sit in air conditioned churches on padded pews. My kids have sacrificed much more than me, as many school changes as there are years enrolled, or so it seems. And so has Patty, who has stopped her career so I can pursue mine many times. Nevertheless, the cost is real. The high cost of discipleship actually cost us all the same thing, and that is all that there is. We are called to give nothing less than everything. Our lives, our fortunes, and sensibilities, and certainly our pride and our dignity. Discipleship costs familial relationships, fellowship, and financial stability.

However, the high calling is also highly regarded. I will never have much in this ole world. That is apparent to me by now. But what I have is ultimately fulfilling. My children and parents have come to know the Lord during my ministry. I am blessed with a Christian wife. I have friends through out the country and have had the opportunity to regularly share the gifts God has given me. I’ll take a hug from a baby believer in the baptistery over earthly treasure any day.

And why wouldn’t we give all we have? Jesus gave Himself, and compared to that what is a little money...or even a little dignity?! Because of Christ, I no longer need preeminence or prosperity, to be labeled as right or to be recognized.

So, the other John...you know, the baptizer...said it best when he said, “I must decrease. He must increase.” What is discipleship? It is decreasing King “I” to the deference of King Jesus.



No comments: