Now large crowds were traveling with Jesus; 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 pile; they throw it away. Let anyone with ears to hear listen!” Luke 14:25-35
Years ago, when I was visiting Hawaii, friends gave me salt that they had harvested from the ocean. It was this gorgeous pink color and I asked them why it was that color. They told me it was from the coral that was adjacent to where they did their harvesting. Returning home, I found out what a gift this was and how foodies think this salt is so special. I am reminded today that we do pick up flavor and color from those lives that surround us. That can be a true blessing, or it can make us tasteless and useless.
Jesus had a great group traveling with him. He was the event to be a part of, the man of the hour for some, and he had to remind them of what is required of them. We have to give up much and share with those who have little in order to follow Jesus. And we have to put others first, caring for the least and putting selfish stuff aside. We must take up the blessings of others and share them as well.
Today, as the nation leans in and prays, we are reminded that the cost of discipleship is great, as are the blessings. Life will never be easy for those who follow Jesus, but we can know we are flavor, hope and blessing through him to all those we encounter today.