By: Benjamin Lam, Resonate WSU
Free? What is free?
Everything costs something. In economics we call this opportunity cost, meaning every decision costs you the opportunity of a different option. For instance, if you choose to eat at McDonalds, you are forgoing the opportunity to eat at Chick Fil A. Or if you choose to buy that $5 latte on your way to work, you are forgoing the opportunity to invest that $5. Neither of these examples are necessarily bad or wrong- except for the first one, because everyone knows Chick Fil A is far superior to McDonalds- it’s just a fact. This principle gets very practical when it comes to our faith. If you choose to follow Jesus, you are surrendering your life and forgoing the opportunity to live life any other way.
Cost of Discipleship – Follow Me
“As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.’” Luke 9:57-62
In this passage, Jesus lays out the cost of following Him. It may cost you the security of your own home, your family and friends, and the potential of any other option. Similar to the rich young ruler that asks Jesus what he must do to attain eternal life, Jesus knows that we hold dear our vices and other options. Some of us may easily give up our money, but are you willing to give up what you hold most dear for the sake of following Jesus? When you choose to follow Jesus, you are essentially writing Him a blank check that reads “Up to and including my life.”
When Jesus called His disciples, he said “Follow me.” These two words hold such a profound meaning. John Piper explains the significance well in his article, The Radical Cost of Following Jesus, “He is saying: ‘Follow ME.’ And he is saying ‘FOLLOW me.’ There is me, and there is my mission. There is a person, and there is a path. There is a sweetness, and there is suffering.” The path that Jesus lays out for us to follow will be fraught with suffering, but it is worth it because of the “me” we are following, Jesus.
Movement isn’t free
Just like following Christ and the movement of the Great Commission laid out in Matthew 28:19-20 isn’t “free”, any type of movement will cost something. Just thinking the vision for a movement is cool isn’t enough to get it off the ground or make it go anywhere. Your vision to see your best friend in heaven or for your college campus/work place be transformed is cool and all, but won’t be accomplished without personal sacrifice. You have to make weekly, daily, even second-by-second sacrifices for the sake of a greater purpose in order to see those visions fulfilled and movements to happen.
You have to measure every opportunity against the vision and give up other opportunities for the sake of the vision. What will bring the most glory to God? What will help my best friend the most to decide to follow Jesus? What will be the most effective to see my campus/workplace transformed? The challenge in this is often having to choose between furthering the movement or furthering your comfort; that’s what makes sacrifices hurt sometimes.
Some sacrifices will be easy and immediately joyful, while others will not be. The struggle to choose vision over self is real, and Satan works hard to entice you to indulge yourself. Oftentimes, I find myself choosing self over the movement, whether that be something as simple as choosing to break a fast for stupid reasons rather than continue to honor God through fasting, or choosing to sleep more over the opportunity to share the gospel with a non-believer. On the flip side, I have seen a lot of fruit and joy from sacrificing for the vision, such as watching people from all walks of life decide to follow Jesus or producing leaders who are ready to take on the responsibility of leading other believers to make disciples.
Discipline of Sacrifice
Like other disciplines and habits, getting in the habit of sacrificing for the sake of the vision isn’t something you can go change overnight. It takes time and intention. Here are some practical ways to build that discipline of sacrifice:
Know the vision, whether that be the vision of the Great Commission, the vision of your church, or your own personal vision to see something happen. Write it down, memorize it, store it in your heart. You can’t measure what you don’t have a measuring stick for.
Surround yourself with people who are sacrificing for the same vision, they will help motivate you and normalize the sacrifice for the vision. Iron sharpens iron.
Be a “send me” person when it comes to the vision. Don’t tell yourself that someone else will do it or make up some other excuse- do it yourself. Make a habit of saying yes to opportunities to further the great commission. This could be something as simple as staying after service and helping to tear down or saying yes to an invite to hang out with a non-believer after a long day of work and all you want to do is go home and watch Netflix.
Vision and movements aren’t free, they come at a cost. So let's not just be people who believe in a vision to reach college campuses for Christ, but people who are willing to put actions behind that belief. Let’s be people who die to ourselves daily, fight against the lies of Satan, and see worthy visions as more important than our own selfish desires.