19/07/17 - Pastor Young
Being a disciple of Jesus costs everything. Is it worth it?
Suffering is sure to come your way, and in exchange you will give up comfort. Is it worth it?
You will face a rejection from the popular opinion of society, loss of possessions, and maybe even alienation from family. Is it worth it?
When Mark preached from Luke 14:12-35 this past Sunday, he called this "an unorthodox sales pitch" -- and perhaps you can see that this is quite an understatement.
Imagine being among the crowd as Jesus calls you to be His disciple. "Give everything up!" you hear, as you follow Jesus on His journey to Jerusalem. Dismay is the main thing you feel as the experts on the law denounce Him. You're reminded, with some consternation, that a disciple is not above his teacher. Jesus is repeatedly opposed by those you have loved and respected all your life. The next thought that comes does little to comfort: everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher. The crowd thins. People are deserting Him.
Is it worth it?
A few months ago, I wrote to you about a steak that isn't real, and the greater reality beyond this life. What if the example was shifted, and you were given an invitation card instead? The card is from God, and simply reads, "Dinner is waiting." There is an address on the back of the card, and further instructions to leave everything behind and begin your journey to the table. It will take you a lifetime to get there, and anything you have will only slow you down and distract you.
In the face of eternity, a lifetime suddenly becomes infinitesimally small. It is but a sliver on a timeline that stretches forevermore, one so immeasurable that it becomes unworthy of even counting. Then, an invitation to dine with God at the dinner table for all of eternity becomes irresistible. The loss of some of the passing pleasures of this world -- whether they are in comfort, or luxuries, or even relationships -- become absolute gains when measured against an eternity in heaven, and avoidance of an eternity in hell. Any cost would be worth it!
When looking at the cost, first look to the one who presents the cost to us. Jesus is the one who tells us about the cost of discipleship, but simultaneously tells us to follow Him. He is Love, and everything He does is out of an unfathomable and eternal wellspring of love; so we can conclude that the most loving thing that we could possibly be told to do is to leave everything and follow Him. Our great teacher means love for us.
The words that caused great concern before then, that we will be like our teacher when fully trained, bring comfort instead. As the Son sat at the dinner table with the Father, we now sit and eat. This is the reward for accepting the invitation.
The cost is nothing compared to the reward. When we have Jesus in our sights, everything becomes strangely dim.
He is the great reward. He is the treasure that is worth giving all for.
He is worth it.