Scripture Reading: Deuteronomy 1:1-2:23 / Luke 9:57-10:24 / Psalm 40:9-17
A pig and chicken were walking down the road. They passed a church and noticed that a potluck charity breakfast was being held. The pig suggested to the chicken that they make a contribution to the charity breakfast. “Great Idea,” the chicken said, “I’ll give them some eggs and you can give them some ham!” “Not so fast,” said the pig. “For you, that’s just a contribution, but for me, it’s a total commitment.”
The chicken would only have to give up some of his eggs; the pig would have to give up his life! There were many people who wanted to become a disciple of Christ’s but they simply thought it was a matter of contributing, not committing. As Jesus was walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” (Luke 9:57) He had a commendable desire yet an empty profession.
Jesus told this man that discipleship would consist of challenges, struggles and an uncomfortable lifestyle as He Himself had “no place to lay His head.” (vs.58) Following Jesus would require this man to lay down his self-indulgent mindset and take up Christ’s self-denial attitude. Christ also called two other men to follow him. Both offered “buts” as one had difficulty breaking ties with his old life and the other had a divided heart. Discipleship requires committing to the finish line, not stopping at milestones along the way.
108 million American dieters make 4 to 5 dieting attempts per year while 60 to 72 million of American adults attend church weekly. More people are concerned about losing weight than gaining spiritual nutrition. As well, according to the national Council of Churches’ 2012 report, nearly 45 million church members contributed $29 billion dollars annually. That fails in comparison to the $66 billion US weight loss and diet control market. People spend more time and money on weight loss programs and products than they do for spiritual gaining ministries.
Following Christ is not simply a casual confession but a totally sold out and radical commitment! Americans send their children to school an average of 35 hours a week but find it difficult to take their kids to a 45 minute Sunday School class. The amount of time, money and energy that is invested into a child’s athletic activities is joyfully sacrificed while parents grumble at the time and cost for additional church or spiritual activities. Adults even find it difficult to fit an hour-long church service into their schedules every Sunday because of other matters of pressing importance.
Christians may not believe or admit it but they live like being a follower of Jesus Christ consists of fitting Jesus into their lifestyle instead of them being molded into His image. Jesus came into this world to change and deliver us from this world, not to conform us to the world. Following Jesus is not a token offering but a total sacrifice. Following Jesus does not consist of contributing our “extras” but means… committing to Him our “everything”.
Pastor James Clark has pastored Calvary Assembly since 1985. He is blessed with his wife Yvonne, six children, two son-in-laws, a beautiful granddaughter and hopefully many more grandchildren to follow!