Now large crowds were traveling with [Jesus]; 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” (Luke 14:25-26)
It’s hard to understand how Jesus became so popular making statements like this – telling us that we have to hate all the people we love the most. Luke says Jesus initially made this statement to a ‘large crowd’ that were travelling with Him. I imagine this thinned out the crowd. Perhaps that was the idea?
Of course, you listen further and realise that it’s not really about hating anybody, but about being willing to sacrifice your nearest and dearest relationships for the sake of the Kingdom. Even so, it’s hard to take.
It’s what we do when we go to war. We say goodbye to parents and children, sisters and brothers, partners and lovers, not knowing whether we’ll see any of them again. We despise all our plans for a settled and contented life, sacrificing all for the cause.
All this hits close to home for me. I’m reaching retirement age, and, from a worldly point of view, I have nothing to show for it. Most of my peers own their own homes, have sizeable ‘nest eggs’, and look well set up for the future. I don’t have any of those things, and, while I try to fight it, I do occasionally battle with that voice inside my head saying, “Dave, you failed!” Harder still is the reverberation of criticisms I’ve received over the years for welcoming drug-users and mentally ill people into my home, and thereby putting my children at risk. Have I failed as a parent too?
Growing up, my favourite cartoon superhero was “Super Chicken”. Those of a similar age to me will remember that, in every episode, Super Chicken’s sidekick, Fred (a vegetarian lion), would get horribly injured, prompting Super Chicken to say, “You knew the job was dangerous when you took it, Fred.” Forgive the comparison, but that seems to be the gist of Jesus’ warning here too.
“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.” (Luke 14:28-29)
We have to count the cost. Following Jesus might look like a romantic adventure, like joining the circus, but it will cost us. Speaking personally, I’ve been robbed, mobbed, beaten up, almost drowned, and come close to being shot and blown up on multiple occasions – all in my line of work as a disciple of Jesus. What can I say? I knew the job was dangerous when I took it.
I was looking for a positive note on which to end this reflection. Unfortunately, Jesus gives us zero words of comfort here. In other passages where He speaks of us losing family and friends, there are parallel promises of earthly and heavenly rewards (eg. Luke 18:29-30). Instead, in today’s Gospel, Jesus concludes with, “so therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions.” (Luke 14:33)
What was I thinking? Well … “to the Super Coop, Fred!”
Our Eucharist and Bush Bash
I was back in the bush for another Binacrombi adventure last weekend, and it was full of drama. Last time my car fell into a ditch and needed to be winched out. This time the car broke down on the way there and needed to be towed. Even so, thanks to the NRMA, we managed to reach Binacrombi, secure a new water-pump, fix a leaking tank, and do a full night of boxing on the Saturday (replayed below).
Our Sunday Eucharist had another high-profile line-up, including journalist, Joel Jammal, freedom activist, Graham Hood, and my old friend (and data scientist) Dr Andrew Madry. Despite the remote location, we had no technical problems with the broadcast this time (thanks be to God) and enjoyed a full and lively discussion. Watch the highlights below.
This weekend I’m in Sydney for Father’s Day and am looking forward to doing dinner with at least two of my four beloved children. Perhaps the others will join me for the Eucharist at midday?
What’s on this week?
Thanks for your support
Thank you again to all those who give financial support through my Patreon page. It is deeply appreciated. If you haven’t signed up yet but do want to contribute, please choose one of the following options at the Patreon site.
- Middleweight Division ($10/month) where you get access to the member site, along with the videos and other resources.
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In closing, let me thank you for your prayers for Bob, our caretaker at Binacrombi. He had his operation last week, signed himself out of hospital (against their advice), and is back in the bush. God didn’t make them any tougher than Bob. Even so, please keep him in your prayers over the coming weeks.
And speaking of Binacrombi, we are now officially in Spring here (thanks be to God) and the weather is getting warmer. If you’ve been putting off joining me in the bush for fear of freezing to death, those days are behind us. Please consider joining me there soon for a weekend of physical and spiritual renewal.
Your brother in the Good Fight,