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What would you give up to follow Christ Jesus?

October 28, 2012

Proper 23
October 14, 2012
What would you give up to follow Christ Jesus?
Our gospel lesson today is not always easy to hear. I remember hearing this story growing up and was grateful that Jesus was not talking to me. But isn’t he? Jesus is speaking to each of us? Yesterday, today and tomorrow… Jesus’ words to the young man are hard to swallow. Jesus asks each of us to look deep within ourselves to see what discipleship truly entails.
What does discipleship mean to you?
What does discipleship mean to me?
Well, I can only speak on the latter. Bonhoeffer in The Cost of Discipleship, speaks of cheap Grace. We might wonder what Bonhoeffer means by Cheap Grace? For Bonhoeffer it is just going through the motions and throwing money at problems or only attending services. Not that either is bad, but we are called to be active in working toward the kingdom of God in the world, our country, our state, our county, and our city. How can we do this? Through God’s Grace working in and through each of us. God calls each of us to give up the things that hold us back from being and doing all that God has in store for each of us. The “cost of discipleship” can be costly. It can cause us to lose all that we hold dear. It can, like the young man that approaches Jesus, be hard to here, but we are here to hold each other up in the trials of this life.
The man in this Gospel passage went away grieving. Have you every wondered why? The man must have had worldly riches. Because a “poor man” would not have had anything to give up.
How are we like this man? Jesus calls us out of our comfort zone. Just like he did the man in this passage. His piety is high. The man says that he keeps the old testament law. Jesus tells him to give up one more thing, his power and status. In the first century world Power, Riches, and Family make the person. Wow that sounds familiar.
If Jesus was here talking to each of us what are we going to have to give up? We are called give in humbleness. To be a servant to all creation. Yes, we all know that can be very, very hard, but we have a great model to follow in Jesus’ footsteps. Jesus humbled himself, and yet moved against the grain. That is why the Powers that were in place at the temple wanted him gone. Jesus was challenging everything that was in place from the purity laws and what excluded people from God’s love.
The purity laws that were in place, who put them there?
Who places so much emphasis on status and power?
The Roman Empire including the Middle East was a Honor/Shame society. That is to say, to get one’s way the person had to maintain his honor even at the loss of another’s honor. A person of a different social class, or gender for that matter, would not ever think of engaging a person of higher status. Jesus broke all those rules of engagement in his ministry. Jesus did not play the game with them. I guess that is why he was kicked out of kindergarten. He didn’t play… Seriously though, Jesus was leveling the playing field. That is to say that Jesus was a threat to those that wanted to keep the “status quo.”
Why did they want to keep things as they were?
Because it was working in their favor. Have any of you watched any of the debates so far? I watched the vice-president debate or at least some of it. We have not evolved much since the first century, have we? We may have all the technology we do, but we are still trying to shame one another into submission.
Does anyone remember the WWJD bracelets? They are a reminder to us of “WHAT WOULD JESUS DO?”
The further I continue down life’s journey the more I realize society doesn’t change much. However… Jesus calls each of us each of us to live into his model. We must allow God to work through us for creation’s sake. We allow this to happen in our lives, so that God will be Glorified in all things and through all things. If we allow our egos to 3get in the way we are not living into that costly grace called discipleship.
Let us Pray.
Creator of all that has been, may now or shall hereafter be in existence, give us the strength to grow into being faithful Disciples of our Lord Christ Jesus. May we grow into the servanthood that that is apart of being heirs to your heavenly Kingdom. Give us the competencies to be faith stewards of the glimpses of your kingdom here on Earth to all of you children. we ask this for your Name’s sake. AMEN.


From → jimmyahornjr

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