30 years ago I was a part of a group of young, enthusiastic believers. We hoped and prayed to change the World. Instead, most of the members of that group had been changed by the World. Why? In Luke 9:57-62 Jesus had three encounters with three potential followers. All wanted or had been invited to discipleship. All failed.
The three encounters with Jesus in the passage above reveals some stunning truths, that can be summarized in one sentence: there is always a price to pay which most people don't want to pay.
There is always a price to pay in Jesus' following:
- There is always uncertainty you need to face with - "nowhere to lay his head".
- There is always loneliness you need to be embrace - being outcast.
- There is always something you need to leave behind - "leave the dead...", leave a parent, leave a position, leave a well-known environment, leave a carrier, leave a fame, leave security, etc..
- There is always a tradition that you might need to be break.
- There is always a hard decision you need to make that will not be understood and welcomed even by those you love.
- There is always an expectation that you will not be able to fulfill and with that you'll hurt those closest to you.
- There is always a priority you will need to rearrange - nothing (family, money, business, tradition, comfort) can be "first" above him. Many whom you love will feel "secondary" in your life. And that hurts.
- There is always a deep personal, emotional pain, hurt you will experience - ("can't say goodbye to a family").
- There is always a hard work in which you will need to be involved in. Following Him is working on God's Harvest field, where you need to "plow", "sow" and "reap" - all hard work. Plowing is necessary to have a harvest. In His Field we need to put our hands on the plow. Without it there is no sowing and harvest. Plowing is making the soil ready to receive the seed.
- There is always a focused, determined, single-mindedness that is required of you - you can't look back if you want to plow well. Nobody who looks back can plow straight. If you don't "plow" straight, that ruins the field and you are not fit, not qualified for Kingdom work! Focused, single-minded following leads to straight plowing. If there is anything else (fame, security, recognition, etc.) in your focus than Jesus, you are not qualified to work for Him! If you look back and base your future on what you have achieved so far, your plowing is gonna be crooked. We can't look back for what we leave behind if we want to work in His Harvest. We can't let what's behind determined our future direction. Singleminded focus is too much of a price for many to pay.
I saw too many giving up on following Jesus, because they found the price too big. They didn't see what an infinite treasure they could gain with the little price they had to pay in His following. The price you are willing to pay is determined by the treasure you want to gain. If you found the infinite treasure in Christ that is yours for free, you will gladly pay the ridiculously cheap price to experience more of it.
What is the emotional pain you need to go through, the expectation you need to fail, the loneliness you need to embrace, the decision you need to make, the things you need to leave behind, that would be too big of a price for you to pay in His following?
What would be a price you would not be willing to pay?