It Costs to Serve Jesus
Jesus never wanted to accept disciples under false pretenses, so he always let them know what was the price of discipleship. Jesus was smart and appealing. He did not want crowds to follow him without an appreciation of what they would have to give up.
Jesus wanted to separate the casual from the consecrated disciples.
There is a song, “It pays to serve Jesus.” Its chorus goes like this:
It pays to serve Jesus, it pays every day, it pays every step of the way; Though the pathway to glory may sometimes be drear, You’ll be happy each step of the way.
That is true enough, but it also costs to serve Jesus. What are the prices too high for the “summer soldier and sunshine patriot”? (Explain what that is.) There are barriers that need to be broken.
What are the barriers to discipleship?
I. There is the barrier of personal comfort.
A. The first would-be disciple in our passage would not follow because he would have to give up some creature comforts. What about you?
B. The gospel is simple, but it is not easy. It calls people to move to a mission field or give of their treasure.
C. There are many people willing to be in the army as long as they only march in parades. Very few are willing to march into battle.
D. The gospel may very well make you comfortable in some areas. More than making you a happy person though, the gospel wants to make you a fulfilled person.
II. There is the barrier of misplaced priorities.
A. The second would-be disciple felt the call of family ties over the call to discipleship. (Note: Jesus was not denying this man a chance to go to his father’s funeral. He used an expression which meant “Wait until my father dies.”)
B. Some, like this man, make family the focus of their lives.
C. Some make work the focus of their lives.
D. Some make leisure the focus of their lives.
E. Some make self the focus of their lives.
F. Where is God in all of this?
G. Not all these things are bad in themselves, but become bad when they keep us from being Jesus’ disciple.
III. There is the barrier of procrastination.
A. We often try to put off any decision whatsoever. - Often we delay doing jobs that seem large, difficult, boring, or disagreeable. But to continue putting them off shows lack of discipline, poor stewardship of time, and in some cases disobedience to God. Jobs we don’t enjoy require concentration, teamwork, twice as much time, lots of encouragement, and accountability. Remember this when you are tempted to procrastinate.
B. We often put off decisions because they are limiting.
C. We often put off decisions because they are risky.
D. Not to decide is to decide, and it is a way to say, “No.”
E. Too many people don’t so much decide against Jesus as fail to decide for him.
If a person is not willing to work, he or she can find endless excuses to avoid it. But laziness is more dangerous than a prowling lion. The less you do, the less you want to do, and the more useless you become. To overcome laziness, take a few small steps toward change. Set a concrete, realistic goal. Figure out the steps needed to reach it, and follow those steps. Pray for strength and persistence. To keep your excuses from making you useless, stop making useless excuses.
Yes, there are benefits to living the Christian life. Those benefits are significant. Those benefits do not come except to those who will pay the price. Remember, ministry that costs nothing accomplishes nothing.