Every morning (or if I’m tenacious enough) I write in my girls’ journals a Bible passage and then some questions for them to answer. Today I chose Luke 14:28-33. I encourage you to read it here.
I used this passage because I have been following a progression of verses in light of helping my girls, mostly Julie, understand the basis behind what we do in life for work. She has raised over $1,000 in the past by making and selling toffee. While doing that she had a goal in mind and was very diligent to complete the project.
I have been going through verses like:
- Jeremiah 1:5 & Psalm 138:13-14 – Illustrating that God forms us in the womb and knows us before we are born
- Romans 12:6-8 – This highlights that each of us have different gifts and to use them for others
Today’s verses were used to show that before you begin your work, make sure you have what it takes. I was going to lead into the knowledge that if you don’t have what it takes, then work until you do and then start your project. I was pleasantly surprised that God used this passage in a slightly different way for my own life than I had intended.
… To Follow Christ?
This one was somewhat easy for me. You count the cost of following Christ beforehand so that when trials come you will be ready. What I wondered this morning was what is the cost to follow Christ? The answer lies in verse 26 & 27. Verse 26 uses language like “hating your father and mother.” I have been around enough commentary to know that much of the time that the word “hate” is used in the Bible it is in direct correlation to “loving” something else. Compared to warm weather, I HATE cold weather. (even at the expense of being ridiculed by friends) I would much rather be sitting on a beach than snowboarding in the mountains, but I wouldn’t give that up if given the chance.
Christ tells us plainly that in comparison with our love of Him, how much should we also love our family or even our own life. His answer is that we should hate them and even ourselves. Of course he tells us in other passages in scripture that we should love our wives as He, himself, loved the church, so obviously hating our family is not the focus. But the point of this section is do we have what it takes to follow Christ? Are we willing to put our love of our parents, our spouses, even our 3 year-old sons who continually make us smile everyday by the food stuck to their mouths while wearing a Spiderman costume and a Darth Vader mask. Yes, in comparison to Christ, we should hate them. Even to the point of offering ourselves as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1), we should be ready to forsake all (if and when God asks) and carry our cross to follow Jesus.
… To Reject Christ?
The next set of verses (31 – 33) caught me off guard. I thought it was expressing the same sentiment as the section before, but a quick glance at the notes in my Bible revealed to me something different and made me think twice about my preconceived ideas about these passages. The king in these verses considers if it’s possible to take his 10,000 men against another king on his way with 20,000. Doesn’t sound like good odds to me, and it shouldn’t. These verses lead us to the understanding that the first king, if he were smart, would meet his adversary before he arrives and negotiate peace.
After reading this, I kept mulling over and over in my mind, “What does it take to reject Christ?” Oddly enough, I realized that the answer to this question is directly related to the answer of the previous question. To follow Christ we must forsake our love of others in comparison to Him. To reject Christ all we need to do is put something ahead of Him. This is even illustrated in the parable of the Great Banquet in verses 15-24. What were the excuses made by the guests? I bought a field, I bought some oxen, or I just got married. These things get in the way of the “banquet” or relationship that God has intended us to partake with Him.
When I think of the question, “Do I have what it takes to follow Christ?” I immediately think of questions like, enough money? enough time? enough resources? Do I have more of something that I can GIVE Christ to follow Him. What I have been realizing through my life is that Jesus doesn’t want me to make more to give Him, he just wants what I already have. By sacrificing those things that I think are of value, He uses them for His glory and gives me a better way to love that which I have given him.