“So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.” – Luke 14:33
The word radical comes to mind when I read that statement. It sounds as though Jesus expects me to sign my life over. That I relinquish controlling interest. That He holds exclusive rights to my time, talent and treasure. That my loyalty – my allegiance – is to be to Him only. That He has everything and I have nothing.
I can think of only two reasons why He would do that.
He is a tyrannical dictator – a control freak – with a desire to rob my possessions and suppress my achievements to His own end. In that case He is the self-centered One, building His Kingdom on the backs of mind-numbed robots like myself who don’t possess the knowledge or power to fight back. But the evidence doesn’t favor this position. He never lead an army and never wielded a sword. It seems those who followed Him did so of their own accord. Besides, look at what He gave up! A crown. Look at what he took up. A cross. Paul said, “he who was rich, for your sakes became poor, that through His poverty you might be made rich.” It can’t be this. There must be something more.
He must have known that what we received would be of far greater value that all we gave up! And thus the battle begins. It seems that this is indeed the invitation, but can it really be? The things I have are so dear. The things I do with the things I have are so enjoyable. My rights are precious. Is it possible that what Jesus is offering by what He is demanding is better than all of that? Here’s the subtlety of His invitation: every one of us has to answer that question for ourselves. It’s a risk either way. But which is the greater risk? To hold on to what I have, or renounce it for the offer of something better?
Let me just offer this. You can ’t afford to get it wrong!