Tuesday, February 28, 2012

What Is Following Jesus Worth?

26 “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. 27 “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. 28 “For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it?  — Luke 14:26–28 (NASB95)
Asian Access (or A2), a Christian missions agency in South Asia, listed a series of questions that church planters must ask new believers who are considering baptism. . .
 *  Are you willing to leave home and lose the blessing of your father?
 *  Are you willing to lose your job?
 *  Are you willing to go to the village and those who persecute you, forgive them, and share the love of Christ with them?
 *  Are you willing to give an offering to the Lord?
 *  Are you willing to be beaten rather than deny your faith?
 *  Are you willing to go to prison?
 *  Are you willing to die for Jesus?
  South Asian nation struggles to shape itself, Mission Network News (1-17-12)
I have baptized a lot of people over the last 40 years or so.  I’ve used baptisteries, lakes, ponds, bathtubs, cattle tanks, even the Gulf of Mexico.  From each one, I really just wanted to hear that simple confession, “I believe that Jesus is the Son of God.”  It never crossed my mind to ask the questions above, but I can sure understand the need.
In some places in the world, you really need a way to filter out the unbelievers, or provide a way for people to realistically consider what their baptism might mean.  Those questions highlight the cost of following Jesus.
In the U.S., we just don’t see the need.  In fact, we’d probably rather suggest to people that it’s not going to cost much, if anything.  To listen to some, becoming a Christian is just a step toward raking in boat-loads of blessings of one kind or another, including fancy cars and big bank accounts.
In scripture, and evidently some places in today’s world, people actually pause to count the cost.  They know it’s going to cost something - maybe their lives.  I don’t know about you, but this humbles me.  So, what do you think following Jesus is worth?