This past weekend we were blessed to spend time with my family in the Dallas area. We spent four days at my parents house and celebrated Valentine’s Day with a double date with my parents – teenagers BE ON GUARD…you CAN be friends with your parents! (It’s amazing!) But that’s not the point. The point is that at several different times this weekend I was reminded of the cost of following Jesus. For us, following Jesus where He is leading means moving to the other side of the world. And that means moving away from all of our family. That’s not easy.
And then yesterday we read about 21 Egyptian Christian brothers and sisters who were executed by evil men because they would not denounce their faith in Christ. The cost for them was their life. I reminded myself of the things that the book of Revelation says about those that “overcome” or are “victorious” or the “reign of the martyrs.” I remind myself that these men are heroes of faith, up there with the likes of those in Hebrews 11. But I also remind myself of the great cost they paid.
Jesus said to His disciples in Luke 14 how important it is for His followers to know and think about the cost of choosing Him over the world. He says this:
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”
Earlier Jesus had talked in Luke 9 about leaving behind family (alive or dead), work, responsibilities, comfort and security. The cost of following Jesus is not cheap. There is a cost for every one of us. To step out. To speak out. To follow. To serve. To sacrifice.
That cost is different for every person. There are men and women in Eastern Uganda that when they take on Christ and follow Him, they have to flee for their lives because their own family will try to kill them. Even one of my team members, Dennis Okoth, paid a great price early on in his faith when his father tried to have him killed (click HERE for that story).
I want our families to know that we will miss them terribly. Our parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces, aunts, uncles, great aunts/uncles, distant family, and the friends that are so close they are considered family. These are people who have and currently have a major role in forming who we are. And we are going to miss that these people won’t be as involved in Adalyn’s life as much as we’d all want them to be.
But I also want my family to know something else: that as much as I love them, I love Jesus more. I want my daughter to know that as important as family is, Jesus should always win. Our decisions and actions should depend far more on the character and nature of Jesus Christ than even the ones we love dearly here on Earth. And I know that this lesson and journey comes at a price. But the Risen Christ is worth all that I have and more.
What is the cost of following Jesus in your life? When it feels like too much, how do you trust Jesus and continue to follow Him?