“…anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me
is not worthy of me…”
Matthew 10:37 (NIV)
For many people the idea of an all or nothing approach to Christianity is foreign. I suspect the majority of people who call themselves Christians would take an approach to Jesus as follows. Jesus is an optional extra on life’s journey. He comes along for the ride and can be helpful to us when the going gets difficult. The way a lot of people treat Jesus is to give Him a brief bit of time on Sunday and then largely ignore Him during the week unless a disaster happens.
Jesus never intended Himself to be an add on to people’s lives. What He taught was that He would take over the life of anyone who chose to follow Him. In His teaching recorded in the Gospels we get a clear picture of Someone Who invaded people’s lives and caused a revolution in their thinking and behaviour.
Our verse today is a call by Jesus for a radical allegiance to Him. He makes it clear in no uncertain terms that He must come first in our lives if He is to be in our lives at all. In what He said about love to Him we must recognize that He touches a most precious part of our existence, our children.
While the occasional father will abuse his children we obviously recognize that Jesus is referring to normal fathers who have a great love for their children and would even be willing to die for them if necessary.
The next couple of verses along from this statement indicate that to follow Jesus is something like joining your own funeral procession. Jesus calls on us to come to Him, live for Him, and, at the same time, die to ourselves.
If we accepted Jesus’ terms for discipleship then many of our issues about life not being fair to us would fade off the horizon. Part of the reason why we remain troubled about our difficulties in life can be brought right back to this misunderstanding about what it means to truly follow Jesus.
To follow Jesus is to give up our “rights”, our “ambitions” and our goals in life. We then set out to discover what God wants from us in life. Having determined God’s purpose for us we are to get on with life on God’s terms. Then, when storms appear on our horizon, we will seek to be especially close to the Lord and walk forward right into the battle whatever it is.
As the apostle Paul has said in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, “You are not your own; you were bought at a price.” (NIV). Therefore because we have given up ownership of ourselves we accept the way that God uses us in life. Some of us are given a more difficult road to walk than others. So be it. We have abandoned ourselves to the will of God regardless of how He directs our personal life.
Have you crossed this all or nothing decision in life? Are you someone who requires your heaven here and now on earth in this life? If that is your demand, then Jesus has nothing to say to you. However, if you take up your cross and follow Him you will be the ultimate victor forever in the world to come.