Saturday, September 8, 2012

Hey Old Guy - What Keeps You Going? Lesson 1: Count the Cost

“In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple”
(Luke 14:33 NIV)

Jesus had just expressed entrance into the kingdom as a wedding banquet in which the bridegroom was so desirous that guests come in that he compelled people to do so. The invitation was broad and extended even to strangers in the street. This is the calling from God's point of view. He is calling us to a wonderful banquet.

This is however, not the whole story. To follow Christ means to put Christ ahead of everything. He comes before all other relationships and before any possession. In addition, each person who follows Christ will be asked to carry his or her own cross. That is, there will be life circumstances - unique to each individual that calls a person to put "self" to death. Jesus urges the crowds basking in the warmth of His presence, to consider the cost of following Him.

I'm fifty four years old and I'm often around Christ followers who are quite a bit younger than me. More and more, I'm being asked the question that I used to ask "old guys" who follow Jesus: "How do you keep going?" I think there are several answers to that question - and I'll take them on over the next few blog posts - but it seems to me that Jesus is giving one of the keys to beginning well: count both the blessings and the cost to following Jesus. If you calculate accurately, I believe you'll find that the costs are far outweighed by the benefits, but there are costs.

I'm still challenged to remember that I am not exempt from taking up my cross. That is true of every Christ follower. People in their 20s think I'm old, yet I think that I probably have some years yet to serve and glorify the Master. I want to follow hard all the way to the end. I must continue to count the cost.

Lord, help me to live as a disciple today. Help me to put my relationship with you above all earthly relationships, help me to let go of my possessions before you, and help me to take up my cross - whatever it is - on a daily basis.

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