The Cost of Undiscipleship

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What is the cost of discipleship? In Matthew 4:18-22, Jesus called 4 of His Disciples and we see the so-called cost of discipleship. “And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. 19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. 20 And they straightway left their nets, and followed him. 21 And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. 22 And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.”

You don’t have to look very far in this passage to see some of what following Jesus might cost. It cost the Disciples, a job, security, career, family ties, respect, etc. If you look at verse 12 John the Baptist is in prison for being a disciple. Following Christ is not always easy. Think of the many believers you may know who have stood up for the sake of Christ and lost family, friends, or even a career. Even though being a disciple of Christ may have its price, I think it would be a lie to say that it is costly.

     What would it have cost the Disciples not to follow Christ?

It would have cost far more than a career, just think of what they would have missed out on if they had not followed Christ. They would have had to be content with hearing about the miracles of Christ second hand. They would never have heard the Sermon on the Mount or seen the transfiguration of Christ in person. Peter would not have walked on water, they would not have seen the sea calmed, or Lazarus raised to life.

Just think what they would have missed out on spiritually. Being able to talk with Jesus around a camp fire on the sea of Galilee until the embers slowly died out, listening to Jesus tell of Heaven or the creation of the universe. Imagine missing out on traveling across Judea, casting out devils in the name of the Lord, healing those who came to you, and introducing people to Jesus.

Think of the eternal ramifications. What would compare with eternal life? If they had owned all of the fishing boats in Galilee, it would not compare to any of the blessings of eternity with Christ. What temporal thing do we have that is worth holding onto at eternity’s expense? Think of the honor given to these fishermen. Revelation 21:14 talks about the 12 Apostles having special prominence in the New Jerusalem and even having the foundations of the city named after them. All because they said yes.

What would it have cost others? Think of the tens of thousands of people that would not have heard the message proclaimed by the Apostles in the first century. Think of the millions and even billions of people that throughout history would never have heard of the glorious light of the Gospel, because a few men said no to Christ’s call.

Think of what it would have cost you and me if they said no. I would imagine if you were able to trace your salvation story back far enough there is a good chance that one of the 12 Disciples started the chain of witnesses that lead you to Christ. It would have cost a huge portion of the Scriptures. Think of a Bible void of the 3 Gospels. Without the Disciples our New Testament would probably start with Luke, and end with Jude. Imagine turning from James to Jude and then closing the book because Peter, John and Revelation were never written.

In this passage, Jesus broke the normal pattern of Rabbis. Most traveling teachers would be solicited by parents to teach their children, and the better the Rabbi the harder to gain admittance, similar to getting into a prestigious school today. You would have to be worthy or have good credentials. Jesus reversed the mold, and sought unworthy people so that he could make them worthy vessels to hold His glory.

How about you. Has Jesus called you to follow Him, and you are hesitant? Maybe the reason you do not see Him yesworking and simply hear about the miracles of changed lives or the great works of God is because you are too busy mending your nets of relationships, career, or other dreams, and have never truly counted the cost of undiscipleship. What great things does God want to show you about Himself as He calls, “Follow Me.” Will you answer, have you truly counted the cost?

What Happened to My Church?

Awkward

Did you ever think you would feel awkward at church? Very few things surprise the college student more than leaving for college with dozens of cards and hundreds of dollars from church members, and then returning and feeling awkward at church. There are some easy ways to relieve that awkwardity at church.

First, engage. Get involved. Find a ministry that needs help and fill it. Ask the leadership about helping out in kids or youth ministries. Invest in the elderly. Purposely talk with them after services, and see if you could stop by and help or just visit some afternoon. Think of it, you just spent thousands of dollars to grow intellectually and spiritually at college, and many have never bothered tapping into 50-60 years of experience for free!

Second, interact. After 9 months at college things look the same, but they really have changed. Come to church prepared to ask questions. Ask about what God has been teaching them, ask about their joys/struggles. See if they have any special prayer requests or needs. Now is the greatest time to invest in people and get to know them on an adult level. Ask them how they met their spouse, or the steps they took when looking for a job or buying a house. After being gone, there will invariably be people at church who have never met you, go over and introduce yourself. Who knows if maybe you are one conversation away from making a lifetime friend?

Third, invest. Young people think college students are the bomb! (their word choice not mine) Do you remember how you felt as a junior higher when a college student took the time to talk with you? (If you never had that experience, then I am sorry the selfish, stuck up snobs robbed you of a very meaningful experience, don’t repeat their mistake.) You have an opportunity to shape moldable souls for eternity. You don’t have to teach a Sunday school class or do a weekly Bible study, to affect them eternally. Simply do what you do with a tag-along. If you are a race fan, kick out a few extra bucks and invite a younger kid to go with. If you like fishing, manicures, or whatever, invest in a young life. Remember, Paul’s admonition to be followers as he followed Christ. If you are a terrible role model, and an example of selfishness, then it is best that you stay selfish by yourself and not ruin a young soul for eternity.

Fourth, unveil. Church is meant to be a place where we share our burdens and take out our poky sticks and prompt each other to love and good works (Gal 6:1, Heb 10:24). When was the last time you helped someone carry a spiritual burden? When was the last time you agonized with someone else as they shared Scripture encouraging you to grow? Most people do not even realize that there is a spiritual battle raging in our souls. It is too dangerous to share and open up. The closest we may get to opening up is to share at prayer meeting, that we are struggling “with something”, or ask for an unspoken request. How many fellow warriors know about your battle with pornography? How many believers can raise their shields and help protect you from the assaults of depression, fear of failure, moral lapses, or the constant struggle with faithfulness? If I do not open up, church will become an archaic ritual, instead of a training ground for life.

Finally, pray. How often did you pray for your home church while you were away? HoMEDION DIGITAL CAMERAw often do you pray for your church right now? If I do not care enough about my church to pray for it, I have already left, and am just waiting for my body to catch up with my decision.

Awkwardity is a very good thing. It reminds us that there are some things that we need to change. If you are not engaging, interacting, unveiling, and or praying, then God’s gift to you at church will be the gift of awkwardity.