Summary: Have we really counted the cost of following Christ? He requires us to surrender everything to be His follower.
Counting the Cost – Part 1
January 12, 2003
Today we will be talking about being a disciple or follower of Christ. Do we fully understand what that means?
The following are actual responses from comment cards given to staff members of a wilderness recreation area…
1. trails need to be reconstructed. Please avoid building trails that go uphill.
2. Too many bugs, spiders and spider webs. Please spray the wilderness area to get rid of these pests.
3. Please pave the trails. Chair lifts need to be in some places so that we can get to wonderful views without having to hike to them.
4. The coyotes made too much noise last night and kept me awake. Please eradicate these annoying animals.
5. A small deer came into my camp and stole my jar of pickles. Is there a way I can get reimbursed? Please call.
6. Escalators would help on steep uphill sections.
7. A McDonald’s would be nice at the trailhead.
8. Too many rocks in the mountains.
These comments and complaints indicate that the people who made them do not really understand what it means to be in a wilderness area. They were looking for something convenient and comfortable, which does not come with the territory in a wilderness area. Similarly, many people claim to be a disciple or follower of Christ, but don’t truly understand what that involves.
God is calling us to be totally surrendered to him – to let go of control of our lives and to give that to Him.
The man in Mark 10 isn’t given a name, but we are told that he was very wealthy, he was young and he was powerful. It is likely he had heard that Jesus had this thing available – this eternal life – and he wanted to get in on it. He had everything else so why not this? I wonder if he came to Jesus seeking what his money couldn’t buy and his power couldn’t get him. He was used to getting what he wanted.
It’s important to remember the public setting – people were all around watching and listening – crowds followed Jesus everywhere – always seeking the miracle or the free lunch or the clever words – but he wasn’t chasing crowds. He was ok with them being around buy what he really wanted to do was to figure out who was playing the main game – who were the disciples – the genuine followers.
Jesus was very popular amongst ordinary people for much of His ministry. But only a small minority actually finished up as true followers.
As Jesus started listing what the man must do, I wonder if he cut him off in mid-sentence? He was probably thinking to himself “yes, well I haven’t really done anything wrong.”
He was busy and probably wanted to cut to the chase – get to the bottom line. Just tell me and let me get on. What have I got to do? Give me the goods and let me get on with MY life.
Joke: Yakov Smirnoff said that when he first came to the United States from Russia, he was amazed at the incredible variety of instant products available in American grocery stores. He says “on my first shopping trip, I saw powdered milk…you just add water and you get milk. Then I saw powdered orange juice…you just add water and you get orange juice. And then I saw baby powder and I thought to myself, what a country!”
Some things are just not that easy.
Vs. 21 – Jesus loved this man. He didn’t get angry with him because he was coming with wrong motives, or because he was being pushy or difficult.
Jesus wanted this rich, powerful totally self sufficient young man to be completely dependent on Him. Then he would have discovered that Jesus really is his security and hope. That Jesus is the source of life here and now and life eternal. Jesus was calling him to be a disciple. To completely rework his life and his values.
Let’s allow ourselves to be this man for a minute. You come to Jesus. You want what he’s offering – eternal life, peace, purpose, hope and His call to you is to sell everything you own and not to put the money in the bank but to give it to the poor. That meant all his property all his possessions all his shares – Jesus was telling him to get rid of them. How would you feel – to sell your house, cars, to empty your bank account, to have only the bare necessities for life. Would you do it if you were him?
Sometimes I think we’re too hard on this guy and too easy on ourselves. We read this and think…what a fool – he just doesn’t get it. It’s all about trusting Jesus and he can’t trust. and yet while we understand it on a cognitive level, do we really get it? We’re told that we genuinely believe something if we act on it – if it changes our behavior – not if it sits in our minds as a good idea.