Monday, June 24, 2013

Giving up and Becoming

Luk 14:25-33  Now large crowds were travelling with him; and he turned and said to them, "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. Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. For 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? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him, saying, 'This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.' Or 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? If he cannot, then, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for the terms of peace. So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions.

This is a passage of scripture that is about followers of Jesus being qualitatively different from the society we live in. Luke writes his Gospel at a time when some Christians were arguing about their importance and status in following Jesus. There were students of the Apostles claiming superiority because of their association with a particular disciple;[1] there were Jewish Christians who thought themselves greater than Gentile Christians;[2] and there were wealthy Christians who struggled to associate with poorer Christians.[3] He reminds those who read this that one who follows Jesus must not mirror the social divisions of our society. Instead, followers of Jesus are to soberly count the cost of relinquishing the status conferred by family and possessions and instead embrace the disgrace associated with a cross.

When this concept is transferred into our own history we discover that Jesus is not asking us to abandon family and possessions. What he is saying is that his way of life asks for a different set of life-values. We who follow Jesus do not sacrifice our time and energy in pursuit of material wealth, or social status, or family approval. Instead, the central value that drives our lives is “carrying the cross”. We who walk in the footsteps of Jesus embrace service instead of status as our life choice.    

For Prayer:

Make me a servant Lord, make me like you
For you are a servant, make me one, too.
Make me a servant, do what you must do
To make me a servant, make me like you.

To love my brother, to serve like you do.
I humble my spirit, I bow before yo.
And through my service, I'll be just like you.
So make me a servant, make me like you.

Open my hands Lord and teach me to share
Open my heart Lord and teach me to care,
For service to others is service to you.
Make me a servant, make me like you.
Jimmy and Carol Owens


Fourth Sunday after Trinity
35 The Cost of Servanthood
The Scripture passage for the day is drawn from Reuben Job and Norman Shawchuck, A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and other Servants, (Nashville, The Upper Room 1983), 219.
This reflection is from my own devotional exercises for the day.



[1] 1 Corinthians 3:1-6
[2] Acts Chapter 15
[3] 1 Corinthians 11:17—22.

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