What is the Cost? (The Cost of Discipleship 3-4)

When I first started preaching, I had a chance to preach at a church in Utah and I chose to speak about the cost of discipleship. After I finished the message, the pastor stood up and said, “It is easy to say all of those things when you don’t have a family to take care and you do not have bills to pay. But we all know better.” And then he prayed a prayer and the service ended.
The fact is, we do not want to face the reality of Christ’s call. And this is why Bonhoeffer is such a challenge in chapters 3-4. In chapters 3-4 of The Cost of Discipleship, Bonhoeffer sharpens his focus and challenges our idea of discipleship.
He focuses on the gospel encounter between Jesus and the man known as the Rich Young Ruler. Jesus tells the man, ‘Keep the commands.’
The RYR responds, ‘I do.’
Jesus says, ‘Oh, one more things then – sell everything and follow Me.’
The RYR walks off in sadness because he owned too much to give up. He recognized the terms and that he loved his stuff more than God.
Bonhoeffer says that we are too blind to see that we cannot have a love of wealth and a love for God: “The difference between ourselves and the rich young ruler is that he was not allowed to solace his regrets by saying, ‘Never mind what Jesus says, I can still hold on to my riches, but in a spirit of inner detachment.’”
We cannot have it both ways. We must take up the cross and follow. And, this means, “The cross is laid on every Christian. The first Christ-suffering which every man must experience is the call to abandon the attachments of this world.”
Does this mean we sell everything? Not necessarily. Jesus did not call everyone to sell everything. But before you breathe a sigh of relief, consider this: It does mean we eliminate the things that do get in the way of following.
We have to ask ourselves what is in the way. And once we figure that out we have to turn from it and follow Him.


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