One of the things I like to do as I read the scriptures is write down just one thing, one quick takeaway from the section. For me, it’s a process that helps me move from simply reading the Word to allowing the Word to read me.
It’s a simple practice that anybody can do, it helps to reinforce what I’ve read, and it gives me an opportunity to engage with what the Holy Spirit might be trying to teach me.
This is my “quick thought” from today’s reading in Luke 13-14
“But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it?” ~Luke 14:28
Have I considered the cost of following Jesus lately?
Jesus freely invites us to follow him, but following him, being discipled by him, learning his way of self-giving love, and allowing him to transform our hearts comes with a cost.
Just by following Jesus, we leave things behind. When Jessica and I spent two years overseas teaching English at a university, all we could bring were two 50lbs suitcases. We packed our suitcases to 50lbs exactly, we stuffed our pockets, and our carry-ons were as heavy as we could carry. After living overseas for a while, we realized there were a lot of things we packed thinking they were necessities, only to find out they were a waste of time, space, and energy.
We carry things into our walk with Jesus too, and he compassionately sifts through our beloved junk. Learning to trust him in this process isn’t always easy, but ultimately the cost is the loss of things we don’t need as we walk deeper into life following Jesus.
The question is, how far am I willing to follow Jesus? At what point do I say, “Jesus’ way of self-giving love is too difficult,” or “his transformation of my heart is too painful.” Do I make excuses like the guests in the parable of the great feast of Luke 14? Do I make it as far as the disciples who’ve disappeared and aren’t even mentioned when Jesus is arrested? Do I make it as far as Peter who denies Jesus outside the High Priest’s courtyard gates? Do I make it as far as John who hears some of Jesus’ final dying words only to disappear into hiding afterwards? How far am I willing to follow Jesus into life?
Luckily, it’s not about how far I am willing to follow; it’s about how far he has come to lead his beloved children into life. So, whether I follow him for a hundred steps like Mother Theresa or just one step like the thief on the cross, he freely invites us to follow him deeper into life.
This is what I heard in today’s reading, what did you hear?