Sunday, May 5, 2013

Forsaking All - Thoughts from Luke 14:33

True Biblical Christianity is an all or nothing deal.  And this is why it is so rare.  Scores are willing to sample religion in the way one samples wine.  But few are willing to invest their whole life in contents of a single bottle.  We prefer to hedge our bets.  We play it safe.  We will invest only so much, but never dare to put all our chips on the table of Jesus Christ.

But the true Christian has no other option.  Jesus put it this way "whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple (Luke 14:33)."

Those are hard words.  What does it mean to forsake all?  Honestly, I've been wondering about that for myself.  It is so easy to get tied up in the things of this life.  So easy to allow the weeds of worry to strangle out any spiritual life and contentment we might enjoy.  As a busy pharmacist, husband and father of 4 (3 of whom are teenagers now - yeah - pray for me!) it seems so hard not to be consumed by the business of life. 

I don't believe Jesus was telling all His disciples to sell all their goods and own nothing.  Anyone aware of Biblical history both before and after Christ recognizes that is not what the Lord plans for most of His followers.  There were rich Christians and poor Christians.  And in spite of what some may think based upon the often misquoted verse from Scripture, it is not "money" that is the root of all evil, but rather the "love of money" that God condemns.

A look at the context of the Luke 14 statement helps me grapple with this issue.  Jesus is talking about the "cost" of discipleship.  He reminds His hearers that you love your family best by putting Him first.  That's what He meant by a disciple "hating" his "father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters."  To "forsake all" with respect to my family means that my relationship with Jesus cannot be separated from my relationship with them.  He is also talking about "bearing" the cross to be a Christian.  In Biblical terminology this does not mean simply carrying a heavy burden   To "bear the cross" was to prepare to die.  The cross was an instrument of execution.  The true Biblical Christian, in a sense, must die to the things of this world.  He/she can't be caught up in them any longer.  Jesus is saying you can't go half-way with this.  Like the person who builds a tower or plans a war - you best be prepared to finish what you start.

The idea of "forsaking all" is something I need to keep examining myself about.  How about you?  How much time and energy do I invest in things that ultimately won't matter?  Someone once defined "F.A.I.T.H." this way:  Forsaking All I Trust Him.  I think that gets to the heart of the matter.  Am I putting my trust in myself, my connections, my bank account, my skills....or am I ultimately putting my trust in Jesus Christ?  That, it seems to, is what "forsaking all" is all about.  And it is comforting to know that He who calls us to forsake all, will never forsake us.  "For He Himself has said, I will never leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5)."