Before I begin this post let’s take a moment to read Luke 14:25-33

Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple. (ESV)

A lot of times when I’ve heard this passage of scriptures read, the talk is some 5-step sermon on how we should plan out our lives for our “best life now.” But when I read this, that’s not what I see.  Imagine your pastor coming out on stage to deliver his message and looking at a packed house and thinking to himself, “Man, these are A LOT of people.  Do they even know why they’re here?  I think I need to get rid of some of them,” and then proceeding to make his message as uncomfortable as possible.  The next week there is an obvious smattering of empty seats.

This is in effect what Jesus was doing.  He looked out at the crowds and knew there were some people out there following him for the wrong reasons, but even more people who hadn’t even really considered why they were following him and what that would mean for their lives.  So he gave them a hard message.  He told them they had to HATE everyone… even themselves, to follow him.  He told them they’d have to carry a cross.  He was telling them to abandon what was most culturally important to them and to embrace that which was most humiliating to any living, breathing person.  He did this because he loved them; he told them the Truth.

All of us, in different stages of our lives, at different points of decision will always be counting the cost of following Jesus.  We will wake up everyday and, consciously or not, decide.  Even today I’m pondering what it will cost me to follow the One True Way.

Two years ago I was standing at one of these points of decision.  I was in a relationship.  I was destroying it.  I was destroying myself.  I remember at one point near the end of the strain I was causing, she asked me if I should go see a Pastor or Christian counselor.  My response was something like this, “I don’t know if you want me to do that.  If I go see one of these people and allow God to do what is necessary to change me, you may not like who I turn out to be.”  I knew the cost.  I knew it would change me completely.

I wasn’t willing.  Jesus let me decide. And Jesus loved me still.  He let me destroy myself and then picked me up when I collapsed helpless in the dark, horrible and suffocating pit I had dug for myself.

He said, “If you’re gonna come to me you’re gonna have to hate even your own life.”

I had counted the cost. I hated my life.  I was ready for His.

Communitas: Love, Labor, Live