Readings for 9/8/13: Deuteronomy 30:15-20; Psalm 1; Philemon 1-21; Luke 14:25-33
[Luke 14:25-33] Now large crowds were traveling with him; and he turned and said to them, “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him, saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going out to wage war against another king, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand? If he cannot, then, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for the terms of peace. So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions.
This week’s Gospel reading from Luke is another one of those passages in which Jesus asks those who say they want to follow him to closely examine their motives. If they [we] are just along for the ride, he basically decrees, “go home—this path is not for the fainthearted.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer, in his book, The Cost Of Discipleship, says it this way: “Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession….Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.”