The crowds must have been jolted when Jesus told them about the cost of discipleship, one that involves giving up one’s family, possessions, and even one’s own life. A rather difficult and frightening question that the Lord would want to ask us is: ‘Who am I without these things?’ We’ve built our family, careers and possessions in much of our living years; these have become our sense of security. Without our knowing it, these have all become a hindrance to our full commitment to things eternal, to things permanent and life-giving. We can choke with earthly concerns and in the process, lose our inheritance that is life everlasting.
There must be quite a number of them who joined Jesus more for the excitement, rather than for what he was saying. Similarly, we can become so obsessed and tied up with enjoying our lives, at the risk of slowly losing our grip on our faith. We can become complacent and too comfortable with life such that greed and pride can kick in. Thus, it is always important to think through whenever we are faced with dilemma over priorities. It is important to discern what is right and holy in the long run. Stephen Covey said it to ‘Begin with the end in mind’, in order to succeed in any endeavor that we engage in. More so if we are talking about succeeding in achieving eternal happiness.
The commitment in being His disciple was spelled out, Jesus even gave examples of the man constructing a tower and the king marching into battle to illustrate the corresponding cost of being a disciple. It’ll take careful analysis and thinking before one can realize what is the meaning of discipleship.
Discipleship takes commitment and effort. Jesus didn’t exactly mean for us to leave family, rather it means sorting our relationships so they are life-giving instead of being taxing and draining for us and the people around us. It may mean learning to live life simply and meaningfully, sorting out wants from needs, so that we have enough room to share Jesus’ goodness to others. It may also mean getting out there into the world, rather than settling for what is comfortable.
Let us remember that Jesus also told us: ‘I came so that they might have life, and have it more abundantly.’ (Jn. 10: 10)
Today is the canonization of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, one who lived a full life, although she gave it all in the service of God’s people. Let us be inspired by her life, let us bring others to the fullness of life in Christ Jesus.
‘In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.’ (Ps. 90: 1)