Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Price of Discipleship, part 2

As they were going along the road, someone said to Him, "I will follow You wherever You go." And Jesus said to him, "The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head." (Luke 9:57-58 NASB)

These verses are part of a section in which Jesus was teaching His disciples about the cost of discipleship and describing what discipleship included. Someone said to Jesus that they would follow Him anywhere. Jesus replied by explaining about that "anywhere".  "The foxes and the birds have homes," He explained, "but I don't even have a spot to sleep that I can call My own." Jesus left the riches and glory of heaven for earth. His sole purpose was to redeem mankind by His death, burial, and resurrection. He came to do the will of the Father, to fulfill the law, to proclaim the Kingdom of God, to bind up the broken-hearted, and set the captives free. He did not come to accumulate stuff. 

Jesus did not spend His time on earth accumulating riches, gathering "things", or aquiring land. He owned everything, and yet He had nothing. This lack of material possessions allowed Him to be mobile. He could go where He was needed, stay as long as needed, and move on when the time came. There was no time spent on the maintenance of things. 

It was a matter of priority for Jesus. People and their hearts and souls were the priority, not things. That priority defined everything in His life, and His should be our priority as well. Does this mean that we should be homeless and wander the roads preaching and teaching the gospel? No. There will be some of us who live the life of an itenerate preacher, but most will not. 

All of us, however, need to have the Kingdom of God as our priority and not the kingdom of self. Speaking as one who has done far too much accumulating, there is a great blessing in a simple lifestyle with little to maintain. Living a life of simplicity allows us to be mobile for responding to needs, gives us freedom to invest in the kingdom of God, and keeps our eyes on our Heavenly Father from whom all blessings flow. 

Where is our priority? Is it the Kingdom of God or the Kingdom of Self? That priority is the first mark of a disciple. Whose life are we living? Do we choose the one we want or the life God has chosen for us? That choice says much about our discipleship and is often the very thing that prevents us from becoming disciples. What we seldom realize is that the life of accumulation and fulfilling our every desire is not the path to peace and joy. It is in following Christ, in giving freely, in loving with abandon that we find the fulfillment we seek, as well as the peace and joy that only Christ can give. 

Choose your life wisely, dear ones. Choose wisely and well.