Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, “If anyone 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. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.
“Salt is good, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is of no use either for the soil or for the manure pile. It is thrown away. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” Luke 14:25-35
The aftermath of Hurricane Sandy on the East Coast has left some grateful for no real damage and others simply trying to survive day to day having lost everything. My mother lost two storms doors off of her house but was otherwise unscathed. Many were not so blessed. The relief efforts are in full swing and many churches and other organizations are working to help in any way they can. The un-calculated costs are to those who were already homeless, in need and on the street. Their life support has been diverted to those hit by the storm. There is so much need right now and so many mouths to feed.
Jesus was overwhelmed by the crowd that was following him. He realized many were following because it was the "thing" to do. He understood that there was a tremendous cost for being his disciple. It meant you were all in all of the time. Not just when is was fashionable or newsworthy, but following God means being there for all of it, and serving the least popular and the forgotten. It means putting one's life and reputation on the line for the sake of others. We are invited today to remember how we are called, to be all in, and to be willing to be light and salt for the least popular, the chronic need, the hidden folks who have no others but our hands.
Today I ask God to help me be a true follower. Let me be salt and light to the people at the margins, to the places where hope has been extinguished and the shelves are empty. May we all take our discipleship seriously and walk the back roads and byways seeking the lost and the forgotten. May our joy be full as we give our all for the life of others.