The man who reclined at the table, so long ago, listening to Jesus teach, thought it sounded great!
He exclaimed, “Blessed is he who shall eat in the kingdom of God!” (Luke 14:15)
He was ready to make his dinner reservations in Heaven.
But our honest Savior wanted the man (and all of us) to truly understand what it will cost him and tells the Parable of the Great Supper.
Many were invited, but when it came time to go, they made excuses because they were busy with material things, work and relationships. (Luke 14:16-20)
Note— they weren’t busy with sinful things but normal life things, and they missed the great supper because they had not made it their priority.
Jesus then turns to the great multitude following Him and says, “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?” (Luke 14:26-28)
Jesus is honest about the cost of following Him.
So many have heard about Heaven and accepted an invitation. Maybe, like me, you walked an aisle in a church when you were little.
Heaven sounded good.
Hell sounded bad.
It seemed pretty reasonable to recite a prayer and get some “fire Insurance“.
But somehow, maybe like me too, for a long time, that’s about as far as it went.
You didn’t count the cost. Maybe you didn’t even know you needed to because you thought accepting the invitation meant you could “have your best life now”. You bought into a “grace-heavy, truth-light , name it and claim it” prosperity gospel.
And maybe you’ve been a little disappointed in the whole religion thing.
Jesus goes on to explain, “Any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.” (14:33)
Renounce all that I have? Things I like? Old habits? Little sins?
Surrender? Surrender ALL?
The hard truth is, to follow Christ means to surrender all of me to all I know of Him.
But THIS is where the REAL BLESSINGS ARE! This is where you can feast on things like peace, and hope, and joy!!
No, a true disciple can no longer live for himself, oblivious to God’s will and God’s ways, because their real relationship with Him takes priority over every other thing… and it’s a good thing, a peace-giving thing.
Because we love Jesus first, we can love others better.
God’s Word, not the culture in which we live, is our guide. He directs our steps and we find hope because we trust Him more than we trust this world.
Yes, Heaven is a wonderful thing. But before you accept the invitation, count the costs. Understand what it means.
But also know this, as the martyred missionary Jim Elliott once said, “He is no fool who gives up what He cannot keep to gain what He cannot lose!”❤️
Oh friend, following Christ may mean you have to make some hard choices in this temporary life, but keep your eye on the prize! It’s the best gift ever!
The One who stands with open arms and invites you to follow Him loves you with an unending love.
Yes, count the cost but also know you can forever count on Him.