When you talk to Christians you get the feeling that it won’t cost you a thing to become a Christian. But is that right? Is there no cost at all to following Jesus? That is what this scripture is teaching us and the answer for some Christians might be quite surprising.
The Cost of Being a Christian
So how much will it cost you to follow Christ? Following Jesus will cost you everything in this world. Make no mistake about it, it will cost you the earth and that is what Jesus is telling us here.
Being a Christian is not a part time thing. It’s not a hobby that you can pick up and put down whenever you want to, it is a full time 24/7 commitment to do the will of God. It is priority number one and nothing, nothing at all should get in the way of your walk with Christ.
What About Family and Friends?
Surely you don’t have to put the Lord before your family? After all doesn’t the Bible tell us that we are to love each other and to care for each other?
Yes it does, but not at the expense of your own salvation. Look at what Jesus says in these scriptures. “If any one comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26)
These are very strong words, but is Jesus really saying that we should actually hate our family? Well those are his words, but I don’t believe he is literally saying we should actually hate our families. His message was one of compassion and love, so hate just does not seem to fit that picture.
Jesus is making a comparison in this section. He is saying that a person who thinks more of ANYTHING else than their walk with Christ cannot be his disciple. It is OK to love and care for your family, and you should, but not if it gets in the way of your walk with Christ. Many times too, by caring for your family and friends you actually are doing the will of God for you are “loving your neighbour.”
This same lesson is shown in Matthew and I believe it to be a better way of describing what Jesus is speaking of here. Matthew wrote, “He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:37)
Here it better shows Jesus intent, which is to make sure nothing or nobody stands between you and the Lord Jesus. Jesus is priority number one…always.
Counting the Cost
That is why I say that it will cost you everything in this world. Note that I said, “in this world.” As Christians what we are seeking is something that is not of this world. In fact all of the things of God, which include true love, faith, joy, peace and any of the other gifts of God are not of this world.
Jesus shows that when a person becomes a Christian they need to count the cost. They need to understand that there may be a significant cost associated with following the Lord, and that it could potentially cost you everything in this world.
However with the cost there is also great gain, and fortunately what we gain far outweighs any cost associated with walking with Christ. We gain salvation, eternal life and entry into God’s kingdom. We may lose family and friends in the world, but we will gain brothers and sisters in the Lord. They may even be those of our own family for the Lord does call families.
But it is important that we understand quite clearly that there will be a cost. That is why Jesus took great pains to describe what it may cost each person in such dramatic style. He wanted there to be no doubt that this is a big step, and one not to be taken lightly as going back is not an option, at least not if you want to receive the glory and the prize that is set before you.
What must you do?
The last verse in this section sums it up. “So therefore, whoever of you does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.” (Verse 33)
Are you prepared to do this? Are you prepared to lose all that you have or to give up your worldly friends and passions if it is required so that you can walk with Christ? That is what you must be prepared to do. As Peter and the disciples said, “Lo, we have left everything and followed you. What then shall we have?” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of man shall sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And every one who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life.” (Matthew 19:27-29)
The last statements are the key. Every person who has left family, property, friends or business for the sake of the Lord will receive in greater abundance AND receive eternal life.
It’s not a bad deal. To give up what is temporary and fading in this life to receive something permanent that will last into eternity. So what must you do? Be prepared to give away all you have if you are called to do so, for the promise of what is to come is far greater, and follow the Lord.
(Photo sourced from stock.xchng www.sxc.hu/ taken by Sanja Gjenero)