In Luke 14:25-35 Christ talks about being a disciple. Now it’s amazing to me that I had heard most of these verses in some form or another, but I had never put them all together. It seems like people will either talking about leaving your mother and father behind to take up the cross daily, or we talk about “what use is salt if it has lost its flavor?” But right in the middle of those verses Jesus asks the question through parables, “Do you have what it takes to be a disciple? Have you examined yourself and answered? Are you ready to take up your cross and follow or aren’t you? Where do you stand? Where are you?”
Have you ever stopped and asked yourself that question? Aside from those times when you were just wandering around the mall completely lost or looking down a REALLY long stretch of highway with no recognizable exit signs (if any) and no noticeable landmarks, have you ever really stopped and taken stock of where you are?
I find myself in that position today as I’m slammed at work and a million other things seem to be slowly coming to a head. It seems like every time I ask people for guidance or counsel or prayer I walk away with “You’re in a transition period right now.” I think the best variation I got of this was, “You expect God to do just ONE thing?”
That’s when I realized that among other things, I needed to stop and figure out where I was as a person and I’m using these verses from Luke to do it. There are a certain number of steps here.
26-27 What’s important? Now this may sound like an easy question with an easy answer, but the real truth is that very few of us actually have an active hatred for our families and ourselves. In the same way, there is very little that we as people hate, but what is Jesus really getting at here? I don’t think he’s talking about our relationships which we should cherish and build, but rather really and carefully examining what it is that is holding us back from him. In Matthew when this is story is relayed it is preceded by “let me say goodbye to my family” and Jesus said “No, this is more important.” I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve felt God tell me to do something and delayed. I stuttered and stammered saying “oh I need to _____ first.” So what’s really important?
28-32 What have you got? This isn’t just about material possessions or earthly goods. We all have something to offer, the trick is to recognize what it is. You can’t build a tower if you don’t know how and you can’t win a championship boxing match if you’re a pacifist. In the same way, you can’t jump into teaching if you’ve never studied the bible (trust me, I tried it) but that doesn’t mean you can’t take what you DO have and what you CAN do. But you have to know what you have and what you can do first!
33-35 How dedicated are you? If you don’t know what you have, if you don’t know what’s important you can’t start to be a disciple. Once you start however, the question isn’t about what’s important (although we all need reminders now and again) instead the question is about who’s in it for the long haul? Who is going to be here when things get tough, when you’re out of energy and don’t know how you can possibly keep going, in that moment will you be dedicated enough to make sure that the salt of the earth retains its saltiness?