Jesus says that if we want to be His disciples we must leave everything behind and follow Him. He says we must take up our cross and follow Him. He says we must leave father and mother, sister and brother and follow Him. He says we must sell our possessions, give alms to the poor and follow Him. Jesus says, “Follow me,” and that command is universal. Every Christian is commanded to follow Jesus. It is true that Jesus calls us all to follow Him in different ways, different callings, different roles. But the command is universal and the command is absolute. Nothing may come between you and the Master; every Christian must follow Jesus wherever He leads. In the gospels many of the examples we see are startling. People are asked to sell all that they have, people are required to leave their parents and siblings behind. Let the dead bury the dead, Jesus says, not bothered by any appearance of disrespect. But we’re fairly quick to lay out all the qualifications. We’re very quick to point out the exceptions: the disciples who stayed close to their families, those who retained their vocations and so forth. And so the call to follow Jesus frequently dies the death of a thousand qualifications and footnotes. But this should not be. Jesus began his ministry calling disciples to leave their nets, to leave their fathers and mothers and vocations behind, he called the rich to give their possessions and wealth away, he called his disciples to lose their lives for His sake and for the sake of the gospel. And so the exhortation is to stop disobeying Jesus. Are you clinging to possessions that Jesus would rather have you sell or give away? Stop it. Are you resisting the call because you know that would mean moving or leaving? Obey the call. The call to discipleship is not a call to convenience or middle class stability. It is not assurance of air conditioning and steaks on the grill. The call of discipleship is the call to take up your cross. So drop your excuses and follow Jesus. And remember that He who calls you, also promises to grant you hundred fold in return both in this life and in the life to come. The call to discipleship is not a call to renounce pleasure and blessing; the call to discipleship is a call to greater pleasure and blessing in the Kingdom of God.
“If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple” (Lk. 14:26)