Eugene Peterson’s book Eat this Book teaches us to chew on a passage of scripture, digest it, and then put it to use in practical ways. Our Christian fathers and mothers called this process Lectio Divina. (This post was first published on July 6, 2016.)
Jesus said, “Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot by my disciple” (Luke 14:27).
The Scripture passages below are about people who counted the cost of following Jesus. Some counted and still surrendered their lives; others counted and walked away. What do we do when faced with the cost of following Jesus?
COUNTING THE COST OF NON-DISCIPLESHIP
Dallas Willard writes that we count the cost of discipleship but often forget that “the cost of non-discipleship” is greater than the price we might pay to walk with Jesus. “Non-discipleship costs abiding peace; a life penetrated throughout by love, faith that sees everything in the light of God, overriding governance for good, hopefulness that stands firm in the most discouraging of circumstances, power to do what is right . . . . in short, non-discipleship costs you exactly the abundance of life Jesus said he came to bring” (Dallas Willard in The Great Omission).
For each of these passages, read daily to learn what the main character was lamenting (mourning or weeping over) or what he had to celebrate – or both. What did he have to lose because of his non-discipleship? What did he have to gain by his discipleship? What would/did the church gain by his discipleship?
Day One The rich young man (Mark 10:17-22)
Day Two: A man walking with Jesus (Luke 9: 57-62)
Day Three: Peter (John 13: 1-30; John 18:1-11 )
Day Four: Judas (John 18: 15-18 and 25-27; Matthew 26:14-16; Matt. 27: 1-10)
Day Five: Paul ( Acts 9)
♥ Start out every day with the prayer that God will show you something to lament about. Ask to be shown what you to can do about the situation.
♥ End every day with the prayer that God will show you something to celebrate. Ask to be shown how you can share the joy.
♥ Make an agreement with a friend to discuss weekly how non-discipleship is affecting the abundance Jesus promised to bring you. What would the world have to gain by your discipleship in this time of a pandemic, Presidential corruption, and racial unrest?
MORE FOOD FOR THOUGHT
“When disaster hits, the sovereign God is present and active, even when things seem out of control. Yet this is a truth that we cannot embody in abstractions or easy clichés: we embody it by joining with the suffering in praying with the psalmists—joining the Spirit and Jesus Christ in hopeful lament. This is God’s world, but it’s also not the way things are supposed to be. In hope, we look forward to when God’s loving and perfect rule in Christ will come in its fullness. But until then, we both hope and lament.
When we come to the suffering, we should not act like Job’s friends who falsely presume to know God’s reasons—“It’s just the way that God wanted it to be,” or “God’s just suffering along with you—he can’t do anything about it.” No. God is almighty and loving, and yet terrible things happen. We don’t know why. But we do know where to direct our trust: toward God’s own promises, for we are not our own, but by God’s promise and action—in life and in death, we belong to our faithful Savior, Jesus Christ” (Todd Billings in Rejoicing in Lament: Wrestling with Incurable Cancer and Life in Christ).