Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Cost

 Now large crowds were traveling 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.

 ‘Salt is good; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure heap; they throw it away. Let anyone with ears to hear listen!’ Luke 14:25-35

When we were getting ready to move from the row house we owned in Baltimore to head north to seminary, the hardest thing for me to let go of was my dark room equipment.  Not the wonderful house we had worked hard to renovate, nor the wonderful neighborhood and city full of dear friends that we would leave behind. They were all hard to leave but leaving the dark room meant an end to a way of life, an identity and a sense of who I was. I remember vividly the cold winter day that we went to New York City to buy my darkroom. It was symbolic and powerful and I had to let it all go. Following the call to ministry has, over the year demanded a price that I could not have imagined.

Jesus talks very bluntly about the cost of discipleship. To follow Christ calls us to give up our control over the present and the future. We cannot "have it our way." We must let go, so there is room for the work of God's spirit, healing and renewing us, and making us able to serve others. The release and letting go that we experience can be very, very difficult and yet it is essential. God will provide for our every need, but we have to be needy, not independent, large and in charge.

Today I ask God to help me let go of those things that stand in the way of my daily walk with Christ. May we all make room for God's spirit and power in our lives today. May we make room by letting go control and those things that keep us from opening our hearts.

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