Thursday, December 13, 2007
The Cost of Discipleship
"For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?" (Matthew 16:25-26, NKJV)
Last night we concluded our study of discipleship in our series on Growing in Grace. This series is a practical Bible study focusing on many of the fundamental truths basic to Christianity. In our conclusion to this topic we focused on the fact that the Bible teaches that being a being a disciple of Jesus is what we are called to do as Christians. The call of discipleship is a call of deep commitment, in fact the Bible indicates that the call to discipleship is a call to sacrifice all things and pursue Christ as our chief end.
In the key text above Matthew indicates that any other pursuit is really an unprofitable endeavor. Our lives today are filled with so many obligations and responsibilities that it is easy to lose focus of what is essentially important, namely Christ. In addition, few of us are motivated to make the sacrifices that are consistent with genuine Christianity.
I have always been inspired by the young Jim Elliot who gave up the comforts of America and a future in business to tell the Auca Indians of Ecuador about the gospel of Jesus Christ. This endeavor cost him his life. Jim understood the risks and was willing to pay the cost of discipleship. In his own hand he said, “he is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” God used his sacrifice and the men who traveled with him to eventually bring many of that tribe to the saving knowledge of Christ. God also continues to use Jim’s life as role model for us all of what genuine Christianity looks like.