Tag: cost of discipleship

Losing to win!

Scripture reading for February 19th:  Mark 8

“He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that He must be killed and after three days rise again.  He spoke plainly about this, but Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him.”  (Mark 8:31-32)   After performing another notable sign, the healing of the blind man, Jesus began to question His disciples about who people said He was.  He then asked them who they thought He was.  Peter had answered, “You are the Christ.”  (Mark 8:29)  Jesus then began to teach them about His mission of suffering and death.  Peter, thinking that He would stop Jesus or impress Him, began to rebuke Him!

Jesus was teaching His followers that fulfilling the mission of God was the way to true victory!  We can’t just have it our way and think the way men do.  Peter was guilty of playing into Satan’s hand and often so are we!  When we only want the blessings of following Christ,  but reject or rebuke Jesus when He asks us to lay our life down for Him we are thinking like mere men.  In God’s economy the way to real life is to give up our worldly thinking and think like Jesus!  He was sold out to do God’s will and we are the benefactors of eternal life!

“If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.  For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Me and for the gospel will save it.  What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?”  (Mark 8:34-36)

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Don’t Look Back!

Scripture reading for October 23rd: Luke 7-9

“Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord’ but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.”  Jesus replied, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:61-62

Following Jesus Christ seems to be an easy assignment at first.  It looks pretty simple and leaving the everyday responsibilities to trust God and walk by faith seems like a glamorous pursuit.  In reality, it involves some difficult choices in each individual disciple’s life.  The verse I chose from today’s reading had some interesting  effects in my own family’s life!

In my own life, I made an initial commitment to follow the Lord when I was in my early teens.  I went to an altar in a small country Methodist church and prayed to receive Christ as my Lord and Savior.  I learned little about what I had done and was not really a committed follower of the Lord until my late 20’s.  By then, I had chosen to follow my father in farming and had studied farm management at the university.  My wife and I were youth leaders in our church and I even became a lay preacher in the Methodist church.  We were building our family and farming operation while life went on.

We had started farming by raising hogs and had built a big complex of buildings where we conducted our business.  This required a lot of borrowed money and sweat equity!  God broke into my busy world and renewed His call on my life to serve Him and preach His word!  We began to seek the Lord as a family and over the next 10 years worked toward a ministerial license through the Berean School of the Bible.  We worked hard on the farm to get out of debt and to re-order our priorities according to Scripture.  God worked with us and directed us step by step as my wife and I had asked Him to.

As I completed my study for license, we were finally debt-free and a door opened for ministry in our local church.   We carefully followed as God directed.  We spent just over another 5 years farming and at the same time serving as a staff pastor in a large city church.  After that time, we had clear direction to stop farming and sell all of our equipment.  A little later we also tore down our hog buildings and buried the remains.  This was like Elisha burning his plow and not looking back!  (1st Kings 19:19-21)

It has been an interesting experience to follow Jesus!  When we started, we did not know all that it would require.  It seemed like a simple matter and in reality it has been!  His yoke is easy and His burden is light!  We can recall what we have gone through, but we wouldn’t go back for anything!  If God has called you to put your hand to His plow, do it with joy!  The journey is exciting and the best is yet to come!

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