” When Jesus heard this, he told him, ” You still lack one thing: sell all you have and distribute it to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” After he heard this, he became extremely sad, because he was very rich. ” – Luke 18:22-23 CSB
Years ago, a young single mother who was struggling to find a job decided to go into business for herself. She had a great idea that could profit other women like her so she began seeking investors. However, every door on which she knocked was left unopened. No one was willing to take a chance or rather a risk on her. After countless disappointments, she was left with two choices: give up her dream which would help her create a better life for her and her family or go for it anyway.
At the time, she did not have much in her name and had recently lost her husband. She made the decision to invest what she had into her business venture unaware of how she would pay her outstanding bills and food the next day. Today, this risk as some would call it or better yet sacrifice was obviously worth giving up her safety net. Her original investment was the beginning of today’s well-known empire of Mary Kay cosmetics, one of the largest independent beauty consultant and cosmetics companies of the United States of America.
In Luke 18, Jesus met a young man who unlike Mary Kay Ash had many possessions. He wanted to inherit the kingdom of Heaven but when faced with the reality of the cost, he walked away sorrowful. Following Jesus often requires a radical discipleship, giving up what you know or have such as friends, relationships and even possibly a career that may please you or be familiar to you. Following Jesus means we must be willing, if required, to give up anything or anyone. In the end, the reward will always be much greater than the sacrifice. This is the very lesson that Mary Kay understood: the greatest rewards come from what we are willing to surrender.
When you make the decision to follow Jesus, essentially your message to him is: ” I am willing to go wherever you take me, wherever you lead so do as you please, I am available to you whenever you need me and surrender all to you.”
True and radical discipleship means always saying yes to God, even when you don’t understand the assignments He gives you or what He requires from you. Nevertheless, you choose to faithfully obey.
By definition, a disciple is a follower, meaning one who follows another person’s leading, example and guidance. When you became a follower of Jesus Christ, you made a commitment to place God’s interests ahead of your own so you could be of good use to the Master. This kind of commitment demands a willingness to let go of your own selfish desires and ambitions. Paul said it this way: I die daily because “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I but Christ liveth in me, and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). Paul understood the cost of discipleship… self. By living a life by the faith in Jesus, he needed to become like Jesus following the will of God and being obedient to Him regardless of the circumstances surrounding his life. Likewise, you too must live a life by faith in Jesus, and following the example of the Savior by being willing to give up everything if God would so require. God may not require of you to sell all you have to give to the poor as He required of the young ruler but He does require that you give up self. Give up your will.
Jesus gave up his own life for us by obeying God even to the point of death. Should you not also give up everything for the one who died for you?
Friend, the reward of radical discipleship far outweighs the cost no matter what it may be for you personally. Your reward is an expectation in the kingdom of God and this, Jesus has already secured for you. Indeed, he has promised:
” I go to prepare a place for you and if I go and prepare a place for you I will come again and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:2-3)
What a wonderful promise and reward for those who wholeheartedly and completely follow the Savior! As we approach Jesus’ second coming more every day, we all need to ask ourselves: ” Is there anything in this world worth losing our salvation over? Am I willing to give up everything for Christ?”
In light of your future reward, friend, I encourage you to take up your cross and follow Jesus. Say yes to Jesus! Not only will you find your reward and receive your crown in Heaven but you will also experience a radical transformation and blessings beyond measure right here on earth.
Dear God, today I say yes to you Lord. I confess that many times, I haven’t been willing to follow you as I should and have not surrendered my will to you but today I want to change that. Would you please help by through your Holy Spirit Father God? I now understand that whatever you ask me to give up is not more important than my heavenly reward and the blessings you have for me right here on earth as a result of my faithfulness. Teach me to follow you faithfully and obey you. Father, make me into a living epistle for your glory and honor.
In Jesus’ Name,