Follow me, it will cost you everything
By Kyle Patterson
In Western culture, we’ve been so acclimated to cost, features, and benefits wrapped up in consumer marketing that it’s almost difficult to share our faith without making it about what Jesus will do for you. We attempt to package our faith in a way that appeals to the most people, telling them what’s in it for them and how Jesus can help you reach your goals, live your dreams, and achieve the lifestyle you desire.
But Jesus never said that. He always asks of us more than we expect. Yet, we water down to how Jesus can fix your life and make things better for you. But what if he never made that promise? What if instead he promised to be with you through the good times and the bad times, but that the extent of our reward would be eternity with him?
What if instead of making our lives more comfortable, he promised that if we followed him, it would cost us? Cost us our reputation. Cost us relationships. Cost us our personal freedom. Well, in many ways he did, we just don’t talk about that as much. We like to recreate an Americanized Jesus who gives us what we really want, and most of the time it’s not more of him.
But I believe God asks us the question, “Am I enough for you?” Am I alone enough for you in this season, or are you only after what I can give you?
You see Jesus is not mostly about a repair, he’s about a total makeover, from the inside out. He is about a realigning of our priorities so that they are in line with his plan and purpose, not ours.
Take the rich young ruler as an example.
18 A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 19 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 20 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’[a]” 21 “All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said. 22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 23 When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was very wealthy. Luke 18:18-23
Here is a man who clearly had a lot going for him. He’s rich. He’s young. He’s probably good looking. He even acknowledges there is something that he still lacks. He’s even open to adding a little religion to his life. He’s morally upright, he says he has been committed to the law of God. The model citizen, we would think. He even admits there is something he is still lacking. So he comes to Jesus. But instead of Jesus saying, "Add me into the mix and you’ll have it all." (The American dream plus Jesus, what could be any better?) Jesus doesn’t tell him to add him to an already full life, he introduces a whole new agenda. He says leave it all and follow my way of life. He confronts the man on what he has really put his trust in, and what has really become a god to him and calls him to forsake it and instead trust in Christ. Give up what you have put your identity in, what you have built your life around and rebuild it on the Lordship of Jesus, following him, and fulfilling his cause.
So many times, we put our trust in things that can not save. Jesus calls us to put our entire trust in him alone. In the case of the rich young ruler, Jesus saw the hold money has on our souls and in this case asked the man to give up everything to follow him. He was inviting him to freedom, yes it would cost him everything, but in the end he would gain Christ and his kingdom.
As it is written, “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?”
The truth is Jesus promises to give us so much more than we ever gave up for him. He pays well and the investment you make in the kingdom will yield eternal dividends. But that’s beside the point. Is Christ alone enough? I believe he is. How about you?