Everything you have #LukeActs2014

In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples. (Luke 14:33, NIV)

Jesus apparently did not like large crowds, at least not according to Luke. He was being followed by large crowds, Luke tells us, when he turned to them and told them that if they did not hate their families they could not follow him. If they did not hate their own lives, they could not be his disciple. If they would not take up their own cross, they could not go where Jesus was going.

If they did not give up everything that had, they could not be his disciples.

We don’t have the wiggle room here that the encounter with the rich young man gives us. There Jesus tells the man to sell everything he has and give it to the poor. We read that and quickly explain that this was advice for this one particular person. He was overly attached to his wealth — unlike us. He needed the challenge because Jesus could see that his attachment was harming his soul. We applaud Jesus for his brilliant insight about that one particular guy. A guy who lived and died long ago. A guy who has nothing to do with us.

We can’t do that here.

Jesus is speaking to a large crowd. This is not a narrowly tailored piece of spiritual advice. It is a general rule. He applied to everyone who wanted to follow him.

Give up everything you have.

John Wesley preached that the commands of Christ, the law of God, had three purposes. The first of these was to convict us of our own unworthiness. The law shatters all our trust in our own goodness and the things of this world that we put our trust in.

Those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.

If this declaration leaves us stammering with questions and wriggling uncomfortably and looking for a way out, that is our convicted heart straining under the sharp sword of God’s Word.

Rather than wriggle on the point of it, we are invited to drop to our knees. We are invited to repent, to cast away all the self-justification and defenses we raise. We are invited to say “Lord have mercy on me, a sinner.”

Jesus turned on the large crowd following him that day and told them to count the cost. Let those of us who have ears, hear.


9 thoughts on “Everything you have #LukeActs2014

  1. Does that mean all pastors have to give up their churches? All means of communication? Of travel? Their families?

    1. Great questions. What do you think Jesus would say?

      I don’t see that he is speaking only to pastors here.

      1. Definitely not just pastors. For those of us who labor in non-pastoral fields, Jesus would probably look at how we act in our professions. How we treat our co-workers, or those under us if we’re business owners. If our jobs is causing us to treat others poorly, then perhaps Jesus would recommend we give that up.
        But I do not have any reason to think Jesus would expect somebody to stop working all together. 2 Thes 3:10 has been used many different ways, but I would argue that one can’t use Jesus’ words in Luke to justify giving up work. Unless Jesus is calling you to another field of work, of course.

  2. In the war of good against evil the King sends his peace maker to demand that the defeated give up everything.. so it is with we who follow the Lord as our King and become one of his army.

  3. It has been awhile since I was reminded of these words of Jesus. Thank you! The old timers called it “dying out to self”. The song writer penned the words “…where He leads I’ll follow”. Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son. Am I willing to count the cost and follow or am I like the rich young ruler and go away saddened? God Bless!

  4. John, your previous post was, “What is the Biblical Argument for Schism,” and one before that discussed “Progressive Christianity and the loss of a moral center.”

    It seems to me that these three things might be connected in your mind: 1) Clear preaching that could provoke people to walk away if they choose, 2) that you are actively soliciting a biblical rationale that justifies schism, and 3) that progressive Christians are responsible for an increase in immorality.

    Am I mistaken in thinking that these three things are related in your mind? Your last line makes me think that you are avoiding making a straightforward statement of your sentiments: “Let those of us who have ears, hear.”

    1. You do miss my thinking on the second post. I ask what the argument for schism is as a challenge to those who are calling for a split. The third post is a reblog.

  5. Donnie, when pastors read these words and contemplate them, they need to ask, “How does this apply to me?”

    To have any integrity at all, pastors must be willing to preach the whole gospel according to their best lights, even if it means losing their pastorate, being assigned to a 4-point charge, or surrendering their credentials.

    Jesus did not shrink from publicly confronting religious leaders, despite the danger. Remember what the disciples asked Jesus? “Then the disciples came to him and asked, ‘Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?’” That deliberate offense to the religious leaders resulted in Jesus’ crucifixion.

    Pastors who tip-toe around controversy and religious hypocrisy, refusing to address the religious elite and call them on their sin–these men and women are unwilling to suffer for the sake of truth.

    “Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, ‘Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues, for her sins are heaped high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.'”

Comments are closed.