Wednesday, 31st Week in Ordinary Time
If we want to be true followers of Jesus Christ, if we want to be his disciples, each of us will have to answer three questions. What priority will I place on following Jesus? Jesus says, “If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” The word ‘hate’ here really has the meaning “to love less.” Matthew 10:37 helps to explain what Jesus really meant: “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”
Jesus makes this demand because he is dealing with the whole question of priority. If you are going to follow Jesus Christ, he must be your first love. What price will I pay in following Jesus? Jesus says, “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.” Discipleship, following Jesus, is not cheap. Just as Jesus paid a price in order to save us, we have to pay a price in order to serve him.
If you are not willing to die to self, to ambition, to desire, to what you want and surrender your life totally to Jesus Christ you cannot be his disciple. If you want to win a popularity contest in this world, do not bother following Jesus. What passion will I present in following Jesus? Jesus says, “Everyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple.” This pretty much sums it all up of exactly what Jesus expects. Now notice Jesus does not say that we are to give away everything. Jesus says we are to give up everything. I like how one preacher interprets this: “You’ve got to be willing to give up everything you have and everything you are over to the Lord…even if that means giving your children to the mission field…even if that means leaving home to go to another place to serve…even if it means answering his call on your life and giving up a lucrative salary and a steady job in order to follow his call into missions and ministry.”
This is the passion that we must have: the passion to sacrifice and deny ourselves to follow Jesus. That is the only kind of followers that Jesus desires. That is the only kind of followers that Jesus deserves. That is the only kind of followers that Jesus demands.