The cost of non-discipleship
Okay, so we are trying to figure out how we are suppose to feel about our families, how we are suppose to handle our finances, and the whole confusion over the verbiage used by Jesus. One part he says to hate our parents but then he says to honor them. What’s the what?
Answers are not always clearly written on the road map of life, but that is why we have the ability to look at more details, more perspectives. Maybe even taking a little break from finding this answer. Does your confusion mean you must stop believing? That you should change your values? Or is it here that you are truly being shaped and formed into God’s best disciple His truest parishioner?
Pastor, “Dietrich Bonheoffer, a German theologian struggling to follow Christ in the midst of Nazi rule, wrote one of the great Christian books of the 20th century. In it he wrote, “The first call every Christian experiences is the call to abandon the attachments of this world.” The theme of the book is summarized in one poignant sentence, “When Christ calls a man, he bids him to die.” Bonheoffer aptly entitled the book the Cost of Discipleship.
Based on what we have heard from Jesus and the Gospels, we would have to agree that the cost of discipleship is great, but I wonder if the cost of non-discipleship is even greater.
The price is certainly high for people who don’t know Christ and who live in the world were Christians shrank back from self-denying faith and settle into self-indulgent faith. While Christians choose to spend their lives fulfilling the American dream instead of giving their lives to proclaiming the kingdom of God, literally billions in need of the gospel remained in the dark.
It’s not funny, but we use it as a means of humor, reflecting on the stereotypical religious hypocrite – men you see walking into the church on Sunday quickly followed by the trip into the local brewery after. There is absolutely no shortage in today’s religious world of hypocrites. I know so many people that are religious by their own definition (we attend this church, we teach Sunday school, etc.) but that is all superfluous to the way they live their day-to-day lives. Hypocrisy.
And I would find it hard pressed to argue the point that the majority of us sin in some fashion or another. I, admittedly, find that there are times that I use language the bible deems sinful. Am I proud of this? No. Do I own it? Yes. Where does this put me in the eyes of God? Will I be saved when the day comes? Have I been a good enough Christian?
Pastor Bill, “Just a few months before becoming a pastor I stood along the banks of the Ohio River watching millions of tons of coal moving up and down the river at the very control of one man at the pilot wheel of a riverboat. Each lump of coal reminded me of one lost person that if I did not fulfill the call of Christ may never see the kingdom of God.
And then it hit me the overwhelming majority of people in this world have never heard about the Christ of the Bible, the Christ who asks us for sacrifice, the Christ who asks us to give up everything to follow him that some may come to know him.
As I stood by the bank of the river, God gripped my heart and flooded my mind with two resounding words: wake up.
Wake up and realize that there are infinitely more important things in your life than football, baseball, basketball, NHRA drag racing, NASCAR, homes, cars, trucks, and money.
Wake up and realize that there are real battles to be fought, so different from the superficial, meaningless, battles you focus on.
Wake up to the countless multitudes who are currently destined for a Christ less eternity.
The price of our non-discipleship is higher for those without Christ.
Consider the cost when Christians ignore Jesus command to sell their possessions and give it to the poor instead of choosing to spend their resources on better comforts, larger homes, nicer cars, and more stuff. Consider the cost when the Christians gather in churches and choose to spend millions of dollars on buildings to drive up to, cushioned chairs to sit on, endless programs to enjoy for themselves. Consider the cost for the starving multitudes who sat outside the gate of contemporary Christian influence.
This last thinking, of Pastor Bill’s, lead me to wander off into a slight day dream. If politicians were truly Christian’s than wouldn’t it behoove them to make the buildings within the church community more easily accessible. What I was thinking is that to have the building requires money. That money comes from the people that attend the church. So, if instead of needing money to pay for the utilities, the structure, why doesn’t our government say that all religious building are not taxed and the structure is not loaned for a price, but given out of the religious laws governing the sanctity of the bible. The cost to upkeep will fall on the people, allowing more of the money to go to those in need.
Isn’t that what Pastor is, essentially, saying? No, not Pastor Bill, but the commandments of the bible. The holy book of reasoning says to not be greedy but to be giving. Money turns the world from a place of need to a place of comfort, but that is not Christian. Where do we, as people, learn to draw the line? Can we draw a line that will not expose us to the elements while keeping in conjunction with the standards the Bible has set? How far do we go?