"...Any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple." Luke 14:33
"Everything he has..." Everything. Yikes. I've been baptized for over ten years, and I still can't fathom giving up everything. I can barely give the minimal 10% for tithe each week. I've heard the sermon on this subject before-- the one about counting the cost of becoming a disciple of Jesus. About being willing to sacrifice your job, family, home, standard of living, etc. I don't even like thinking about giving up everything. I like my comfortable life, my clothes, my house, my food. But Jesus doesn't care about those things...because they're just things. He only cares about people. Jesus focuses on what's most important, and He wants His disciples focused on what's important, too. He wants His disciples ready to give up anything in order to save His people.
Did you notice Jesus said "cannot be my disciple"? I'd never stopped to think about the "cannot" in this verse until Deric mentioned it tonight in youth group. Jesus didn't say that you won't be a great disciple, or that you'll just be a disciple part-time. He said point blank that if you're not willing to give up everything, there is no way you'll be His disciple. Its one way or the other. It made me realize that without even making a conscious choice, I've made the decision not to be a disciple.
I've tried to be a Christian without being a disciple, which I'm pretty sure is impossible. Christians are disciples...or at least, we're supposed to be. But I've been trying to take bits and pieces of Jesus' teachings and fit them into my comfortable life so I can literally get the best of both worlds. I thought that would work, but now that I've noticed the "cannot", I realize that I am not a disciple in any way. That's embarrassing and its hard to admit. But I think its the truth. Unless I start changing my life and my attitude, I won't be a disciple of Jesus. There may not come a time in my life when Jesus requires me to actually give up everything, but I have to be willing to do it if He does require that of me one day. I have to start detaching myself from my love of stuff. I have to become willing to give away more of my money than I keep. I have to change my attitude and start looking for ways to use what I have to take care of other people. After all, my money isn't mine. My house, my clothes, my food, my health and my life aren't mine. Everything I have has been provided by God. Now that I think about it, doesn't it make sense that I should be willing to give it all back to Him?