NRSV –Luke 14:25 – 33 NRSV
The Message – Luke 14:25-33
I love building homes shows.. I love seeing what will happen and how their dreams and ideas come into reality.. The bible today says no-one builds a tower, or goes to war ,without first figuring out the cost..To take on both of these task requires a lot of committment.. Yet some people do.. When they begin the journey they have no idea what they are in for.. Some don’t even know how much it will cost they’ll just sort it out as they go along.. Even the best of planners usually blow the budget (which can be alot of money) by at least 10%.. I had no idea of what I would be in for when I decided to follow Jesus..
Today I have included 2 versions of the reading, the first so we can remember the heat and seriousness that Jesus was on about, the second, The Message because I think it makes the point a little more clearly.. The beginning of the reading tells us there were a whole stack of people following Jesus, by now over half way through Luke, Jesus was getting to be popular.. I can understand his frustration at people wanting to be around him but not take him seriously or understanding what he was on about.. For some it may have looked like an easier option. Jesus was critical of the law and those who adhered to it too tightly or forgot that it really was all about loving God and your neighbour.. But for Jesus these were radical costly commitments, that would turn your family against you and could send you broke.. Jesus was asking if you want to follow me are you willing to let go of everything you value?
For me following Jesus has been a very interesting and windy road. The love of God has got me through many dark places and helped me to recover well from difficult circumstances. My willingness to go wherever you lead, has meant I have worked with street kids, and the most wealthiest people, very small and large communities and I have been challenged to think deeply about my faith in ways not asked of by the church. All of which my life has been so much richer for.. But for this to work I had to hold lightly the things I value, I had to be willing to sit in a place of conflict at times with family, friends and the church. It means there are weeks I worry about money, yet choose to remain generous.
I love in the message how it says “Anyone who won’t shoulder his own cross and follow behind me can’t be my disciple.” I love the values and vision that God gives us through Jesus. It makes a difference in my life. I can see how it can and does make a difference in the world but for this to work requires that everyone shoulder their own cross to make it happen. We can’t rely on our parents, friends, missionaries or our faith communities to take our share of the load. If we do, it becomes unbalanced and falls over.. Jesus knew this and tried to help people understand..
My experience of faith is that I have not had to walk away from my family, but I have had to walk my own path in following Jesus. It has been in all areas of my life that the Jesus values is the filter of which I need to make sense of the rest of the world. Is this loving God? is this loving my neighbour as myself? So in doing the drawings today the questions came to me, what is it that I am still holding onto more tightly than my committment to God? Is it work, is it home, is it family’s opinion, is it success, is it money,is it a long life, is it following the dream? For the prayer of “your kingdom come” to work requires all of us to shoulder our own cross.. I pray for courage and strength as you recheck your life, may your hands and heart be opened kindly this week.