How to use money as disciples of Jesus - Part 1
Jesus had a habit of thinning out the crowds that followed him by making radical demands. In Luke 14:25-33, he defines what it means to be a disciple:
Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.
At North Church, we desire to be disciples and make disciples. And for us to have any chance of making progress, we must first define what it means to be a disciple. We have to see the target before we aim. Jesus gives us four profiles of a disciple in the passage above.
A disciple loves Jesus most. Using the strongest of language, Jesus demands that we chose him over father, mother, wife, children, siblings and even ourselves. Our first loyalty and highest love belong to him alone.
A disciple dies to self. Once again, using graphic language, Jesus demands that a follower “bear his own cross”. Under Roman Empire rule, prisoners condemned to death were humiliated by participating in their own executions. As a symbol of guilt and submission, they carried the cross that would kill them. To be a disciple is to deny yourself as the focus of your life.
A disciple follows after Jesus. The point of dying to self is to be free to follow Jesus. That’s why Jesus calls a disciple to “bear his own cross and come after me”. Jesus leads and we follow. It’s not easy, but it is simple.
A disciple gives up everything. Jesus said it like this, “any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple”. Said differently, a disciple does more than give Jesus 10% of his/her income. A disciple gives 100% of everything he or she owns to Jesus. Jesus has title to all that we have. And our job, as a disciple, is to manage his stuff the way he wants.
We will be building on each of these profiles in the weeks to come as we look at the way we use money as disciples. If we are to grow together as disciples, we will grow together in generosity. We will be generous in worshipping Jesus. And we will be generous in serving each other.