The Discipleship Payment Plan
You ever noticed how those infomercials get you by explaining the price in increments? You know, “Just 3 payments of 34.99!” C’mon… it’s $105. Plus shipping… plus…
I’m glad Jesus didn’t do that. He didn’t try to make it sound like walking with Him would be “a low monthly fee”. Unfortunately, however, many of us did get the impression along the way that it was just a “one-time” cost. And not much of one; say a prayer, and “poof!” No more cost! Or maybe to give up old sinful habits or lifestyles, and then, “done!”
But this walk is a choice to be His disciple. And that’s more than just a pray or a one-time repentance. Do you recall the passage in Luke 14 that tells us, “For which of you intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to FINISH it -” (Luke 14:28, NKJV, Emphasis mine)
Did you catch that? It’s not the start-up fee that Jesus wanted us to consider, but the cost to see this thing through to completion. He ends the passage with the admonition that if we don’t forsake ALL that we have, we cannot be His disciples. Yet, the Church I’ve seen in the last 30 years is more about “doing good” and maybe “listening well” and even “learning much.” However, that’s not what Jesus described as discipleship; nothing can replace actually laying down your life, or picking up your cross… which, my friends, is an everyday occurrence.
When Jesus said we’d have to “hate” our families, and even our own lives – we kind of brush by that. After all, “he didn’t really mean hate, right?” But don’t you see? It’s not just a one-time transaction into the Kingdom… it’s giving Him all your life – for all your life! He’s good! He has good for you. You CAN trust Him… but you must be willing to let go of whatever you have for whatever He says.
It’s not about platitudes either. SAYING you’re willing to “do anything” for Jesus doesn’t mean you are. I challenge you to check your heart (just like I have to!). What if that means selling your home? How about moving to an unknown or unfamiliar place? What if it’s serving under a leader you don’t really agree with… as unto the Lord? How about giving up a higher paying job to have time for ministry or family or?
And the big one… what if it’s asking your family to “forsake” something… or everything? Are you willing to do that? Are you willing to trust the Lord not just for you, but for them too?
This is what discipleship costs and there’s nothing more important or fulfilling… but it’s not usually easy. It’s not a one-time cost, nor a consistent monthly fee. It’s your life – sacrificed, for the one who was sacrificed for you.