The message of the gospel and Christian Discipleship is dangerous. Jesus calls us to a life a sacrifice and death. The message of being saved is often the only part of the Christian message which is being shared. But, Jesus, being our Master, Lord, and Savior, reminds us,
“The student is not above the teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for students to be like their teachers, and servants like their masters. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebul, how much more the members of his household!”
Following Christ means being identified to Him. It means suffering, lose, sacrifice. This goes against our nature, but it is the life that Jesus has called each of us to for His glory and for the sake of the lost.
Allow me to share with you a true story I recently heard. It’s not my story, but it is true. And it is a beautiful example of how God desires us to live for His glory and the salvation of the lost.
Several years ago, six brothers came together to celebrate and remember the life of their mother. She had passed recently, and this was the first time they had been able to all gather in rememberance of her life. One of the six, a businessman, asked, “What has our mother left for us?”
Another responded, “There is nothing left. We have checked, but there is no money in the house or the banks.”
“How can this be,” another son responded?
The mother had left no known written request of final wishes. As the brothers continued to discuss this situation, one brother discovered a journal under the matress of their mother’s bed. In the journal, they found a ledger dating back 40 plus years of giving she had made to ministers, evangelist, and missionaries for the advancement of the gospel of Christ. After the most current entry, they found a simple handwritten note from their mother to them. It read,
“Sons, when I die, I will have only three possessions: the wedding ring your father gave me when I was 19, a shaw that was my mother’s, and the earrings your father also gave as a gift. Please take these and sell them and give the money to help the gospel be shared among the nations.”
One of the sons began to weep. He remembered chastizing his mother a year ago for going about in such cheap and wornout clothes. She had told him then, “You don’t understand, but one day you will.” Now he understood. He thought he knew everything. He thought he knew what was important. She lived to save others. He lived for himself. She gave it all. He gave what he didn’t need.
Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?
Not many of us know this kind of self-denial and self-sacrifice, but God has called us to deny self. Until I heard this story, I didn’t really understand deny self either. The ring that has for a lifetime represented love, faithfulness, family, friendship, covenant, and my very being is not something I had before considered a luxury, but how many more might live if I did?
Read this story again. Don’t let its message die as you go onto the rest of your day. If God is for real, and if people are destined to go either to an eternity of Heaven or Hell, then why are we so busy trying to make this our heaven? Millions of people are dying daily without once having heard of Christ and His salvation. Jesus’ final words, the last and most important order He gave us was, “Go make disciples…”
We can’t make disciples if we are building our own empire…however big or small.
Think…pray…and act on your faith.
2 Cor. 6:2 “Now is the Time!”
Look for Part 3, a story of dying to live, coming soon!