Luke 14:25-33 NRSVue
25Now large crowds were traveling with him, and he turned and said to them, 26“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. 27Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. 28For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it? 29Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him, 30saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31Or what king, going out to wage war against another king, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32If he cannot, then while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for the terms of peace. 33So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions.
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Some thoughts on this scripture
The strong contrast in Jesus’ words (hate father and mother) is Hebrew idiom for what we would call establishing priorities. We may have to make choices between the call of the Lord and the pull of family. Jesus is talking to the large crowds who were drawn to him; here as elsewhere he warns against an attraction that is too impulsive and emotional. What do you ask of me, Lord? Let me know the cost.
In prayer it is just me and God; for a while all else is given up. I need nothing to pray except myself. This is how I came into the world and how I will go - naked of all I possess and own. This can be an experience of great freedom. Prayer is the moment of offering the self to God - the true and real self without the ‘possessions' which can sometimes block God's invitation and grace.
How much am I able to let go? I ask God to help me to grow in freedom, to be ready to follow and to serve in new ways.
As I consider the freedom to which Jesus calls me, patterns and habits that limit me may come to mind. I bring them before God for the healing that I need.
Jesus tells us that discipleship costs. I think of how I sometimes resist the difficulties that the Gospel presents and ask for help.