Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. 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, saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’” (Luke 14:27–30)
Following Jesus and being his disciple has never been easy and never will be. Perhaps like me you once thought that being a Christian meant that “God was on your side” and that “things will be easy now that I believe in Jesus”. In actual fact, my experience seems to indicate that life gets harder when following God!
We should not be surprised that the Christian life is a bumpy road. Jesus gives us fair warning in the above passage. He encourages us to “sit down and consider the cost” of being a disciple. Being a disciple of Jesus means acknowledging that control over your life isn’t actually in your hands. The direction your life follows should be one of God’s own choosing for his glory.
The call of God’s love for his people can call you to many strange and new places. As I replied when asked by a student, “Why do you follow Christ?” my answer was this – everything I have is due to God. Were I not following him, I would never have met my wife, become a teacher, travelled to Egypt or now be serving as a school principal across the country from my family in Adelaide.
Being away from my family, and following God’s call to become principal of a new school at the end of the year, brings me a measure of sadness; yet I know that this is the cost of following God. Christ followed God to the very end, through trials much greater than my own. He did this motivated by the desire to share God’s love, mercy and forgiveness with all people. I count it the greatest honour to be a small part of the wonderful things God is doing on this earth and I pray that the children in our community experience this joy and honour too.
As we undertake God’s work, may we find joy in following Him wherever it may lead us.