Monday (3/30/20) - Lord God, by your Word fill me with a spirit of discipleship and commitment
Luke 9:22-27 - “The Son of Man must suffer many terrible things,” he said. “He will be rejected by the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He will be killed, but on the third day he will be raised from the dead.” Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroyed? If anyone is ashamed of me and my message, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in his glory and in the glory of the Father and the holy angels. I tell you the truth, some standing here right now will not die before they see the Kingdom of God.”
When I am trying to persuade someone to make a choice or do something, I tend highlight the positive aspects and minimize the negatives. I don’t want think I am a salesman but I realize that there is a certain way to present things that will get the results I prefer. Jesus was not like that. Sometimes it seems like he is actually trying to convince people to NOT follow him. Of course, Jesus wasn’t worried about gaining followers; his priority was on developing disciples.
Christ never hesitated to explain the reality of his expectations to those who wanted to be his disciples. True commitment to Christ means being willing to suffer. As we get closer to Holy Week and especially Good Friday, the statement that a true disciple of Christ must take up their cross daily carries so much more meaning for us. Just as Christ carried his cross to Golgotha and carried out his commitment, we need to do the same thing as his disciples.
That means that we shouldn’t be focused on just chasing the “American Dream”. I am not saying that there is anything wrong with being successful and enjoying some of the toys and luxuries that are available to us. But that can’t be our number one priority – I think we have all become very much aware of just how temporary all these things are over the last few weeks. We can spend all our resources chasing after the trophies of this world and watch them all crumble before us in no time at all.
Jesus said that if we are willing to give up our life for his sake, we will save it and gain so much more. As we struggle to hold on to what pieces of “normal life” are left to us in these days, let’s remember how fruitless it is to try to hang on to this life and all its temporary trophies. Maybe we can use this time to help us shed some of those things that are standing in the way of becoming a true disciple of Christ. Maybe we can use this time to help us grow in our commitment to following Christ in all things, knowing that he can and will provide.