Choose Life! (Luke 14:25-33)
By Alexandra Anderson, September 2019
Is Jesus serious? Are these his family values! ‘hate your mum and dad’? He turns to the large crowd that is following him and says ‘Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple’ You can almost hear the explosion as this little bomb drops! BOOM!
I know my parents can be annoying sometimes but ‘hate’? . This is strong language – we are to hate? Really ? And not only our family but even our own lives and give up all our possessions? To me that looks like a recipe for loneliness and homelessness. Surely Jesus is not serious! After all, Jewish literature is notorious for its hyperbole, it’s exaggeration isn’t it? Perhaps Jesus is using those words for effect, to make a point – isn’t he?
Sometimes I think we European Christians spend too much time THINKING about our faith and not enough time practising it. What Jesus is saying here in this passage then is this: your faith, your discipleship, your Christianity has to be more than just an attitude. Faithful discipleship is a way of ‘doing and acting’ in Grace and Love towards others that is not focused on ourselves but on others.
Jesus is in this sense is ‘inconvenient’. He demands, undivided loyalty ... This is why we are asked to count the cost before we commit-- because the Christian life is expensive, it demands our whole-hearted commitment in terms of our time, attention, and money. Jesus gets to the heart of the issue by talking about the cost of discipleship.
Ignoring Him and his teaching no matter how hard it may seem would mean missing out. Jesus promises those who follow him “abundant life.” But by storing our faith away for a ‘rainy day’, and being unwilling to take up our cross we are missing out on the fullness of the gifts that God is giving to you freely and abundantly.
In fact, this passage is an invitation. An invitation to examine your life from a kingdom perspective. What do I mean by that? Jesus is being honest about what it is we are signing up for when we say we want to follow him. But this is not so much about sacrifice, suffering and death than it is about taking up life. It’s about taking up the values of the Kingdom of God and everything else by comparison is worthless – yes even our families, even our possessions and even our comfort. It’s as shocking now as it was then but I challenge you to hear Jesus’ voice anew and to accept his invitation to take up the cross and follow him on the road of discipleship. What will we choose? Will we choose true life?