It’s Not Hard To Be A Disciple

May 12

I’ve been reflecting over the current sermon series I am preaching in our churches right now on discipleship. I think it is the most challenging series for our congregations that I’ve preached. I can “feel” it.

What do I mean by this? Well, everyone knows that people go to church to be inspired–they have usually had a rough week and are looking for some glimmer of hope or encouragement. Yet, the call to discipleship really is a call to die. It is a message that asks more of us to the call of Christ. Not necessarily the most inspiring message.

But through my study and through our messages, I’ve been seeing more and more that to be a disciple of Jesus really isn’t hard,. Jesus says things like, “Take my yoke upon you, for my burden is easy, and my yoke is light.” He also says, “I have come to give you life, and life abundantly.”

How can we juxtapose these things alongside the “hard road” of discipleship? For me, the answer is Matthew 6:24-34. Looking out my window, I see some trees that are now just finally starting to grow their leaves for spring. It is a natural phenomenon. God has provided the means for these types of things to happen, and they happen every year as they should.

Being a disciple of Jesus isn’t hard either. With the Holy Spirit inside of us, God has provided the means for us to grow too. Jesus encourages us to look outside our windows during spring in this passage in Matthew 6, “Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin.”

The reason being a disciple of Jesus is so hard for us is that we are toiling and spinning to make our lives as great as they can be. The notion that being a disciple of Jesus is even more important than anything else in this life–well, that just feels like SO MUCH added pressure to an already pressurized life.

We are just proving Jesus right when He says in verse 24, “No one can serve two masters.” The reason why discipleship is so hard is because we feel we cannot leave our old “job.” Do you think any employer would hire you for a full-time job, knowing that you already have a full-time job that requires a lot of overtime, and you’re not willing to quit it for the new job?

Imagine trying to work those two full-time salaried jobs that are totally unrelated to each other. You could do so for a short period of time, but in the end, you’d burnout unless you dropped one of them.

It is near impossible for us American Christians to bear fruit for Christ and thus be His disciples, because we find ourselves in the “thorny soil” as Jesus describes it in the Parable of the Sower. We are already so consumed with the worries of this life that we cannot worry about being a disciple. We are so consumed with the pleasures of this life that we cannot enjoy following Jesus. And we are so consumed with the riches of this life that we cannot experience the richness of a relationship with Jesus. Instead, the call to discipleship comes across as yet another thing to juggle–another demand asked of us.

It is a shame that so few people who attend church will end up being a disciple, simply because they won’t tell their old Boss, “I quit.” I think it’s time for many of us to walk into our soul’s office and tell our old Boss (self) that we have quit working for Him, and that we have a new Master. It’s time to quit responding to the demands of our old Boss and start following a New Boss. After all, with all of the constant demands that our old Boss makes, it is never enough for him! Isn’t that getting old already? And all he provides for compensation is immediate gratification that is quickly spent. It’s a paycheck-to-paycheck kind of life. Our New Boss isn’t constantly demanding. Instead, He teaches us and trains us and equips us and leads us. It’s the kind of boss everyone dreams of having! All He asks us to do is follow Him where He has already gone himself–so He has already paved the way for us! And His compensation will never run out–we no longer have to live paycheck-to-paycheck. One paycheck lasts us for all eternity.

It’s not hard to be a disciple of Jesus. What’s hard is walking out on your old Boss, which really means walking out on yourself. Can we stop running our lives and let Jesus naturally take over? If so, the life of a disciple will be like a bird of the air or a lily of the field. They do not sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, and yet their heavenly Father feeds them. They do not toil nor do they spin, yet I dare say that even Solomon in all his glory did not clothe himself like one of these.

But if God so arrays the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more do so for you, O you of little faith? But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore, do not be anxious for tomorrow, for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Hmmmm….Tim, you’re fired. No two weeks’ notice. This is my last day on the job working for you.

Jesus, I’m out of a job…will you hire me? I’d like to start working for you now. I’m able to start ASAP.

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