Monthly Archives: March 2018

It costs everything to be Christ’s disciple

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters – yes, even their own life – such a person cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26)

 Read the above scripture again; and some people will wonder if Jesus really meant what he said! There is a prominent term in Economics: Opportunity Cost – this is “the loss of potential gain from other alternatives when one alternative is chosen”, according to the New Oxford American Dictionary; it is the trade-off or value of what you have to give up in order to choose something else. So, what is the opportunity cost of choosing Jesus Christ? Was that the question He tried to answer in the unpopular verse above? Let me encourage you in the same line with a few more biblical citations – you are required to: give up your people, give up your possessions, give up your privileges in order to be a true follower of Jesus Christ.

When Moses was of age, he gave up his privileges and foster people in the African palace where he had been brought up for 40 years, and chose to defend the people of God to whom he truly belonged. This even drove him into exile – further away from his people and possessions! That was his path to finally enter the service of Yahweh.

In the early Church, ‘those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need’ (Acts 4:35-37). In this vein, Barnabas ‘sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet’. This giving up of possessions was great and God was happy; Ananias and his wife who were part of the same community were killed by God for lying that they had given up all yet they had retained some!

Paul said, ‘I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord…  I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ’ (Php 3:8). Indeed, he gave up his riches, his relatives, and also gave up his rights. He later explains to the Corinthians how he gave up the right to take a wife along on mission, and the right to earn allowances from his mission work – all so that he would not hinder the gospel of Christ (1Cor 9).

What is the craziest riskiest thing you have done in your pursuit of God? Fasting for three days and three nights? Losing the comfort of your family or familiar friend? Enduring the shame of peers who look down on your new-found faith? Yes, all that is possible. There is an ultra-high opportunity cost when you choose Jesus; it costs everything. My prayer is that you’ll be fully convinced; take the courage, release what you’re holding on to, lift up your hands and give up all; as your Master Jesus Christ must rank above your most loved people, your most treasured possessions and your comforting life privileges, and you will be His true disciple.




Alive Again

“Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” (Luke 15:23-24)

 The famous parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15 presents two worldviews about the main character – the younger son, who went up the crest of affluence and lived large and luxuriously with foolishness, then sank into the valley of absolute poverty; while scrapping and scraping, wallowing in the mire of want and lack, he saw a ray of wisdom; the hunger and suffering beat the madness out of the young man’s head and he came to his God-given senses. He composed a humble confession that would move to compassion the heart of any father however tough or careless. Many sinners are just mad; they see a mirage and are convinced it is a reality; they have heard how stories of wild living have ended in pain and disappointment, but still go down that ‘easy’ road. From rock-bottom the young man now arose and set out on the narrow and hard path that few people find.

That was repentance – metanoeō (Greek): to think differently or afterwards, that is, reconsider. When he arrived, the two worldviews were revealed: the first is embodied in the elder brother who became angry and refused to welcome his ‘resurrected’ sibling. Distancing himself, he says, ‘this son of yours…’ and reminds the father of the young man’s many sins, while praising himself. This was his first act of disobedience, which revealed the opportunistic mindset harbored by the elder brother all along. Wasn’t this the reluctant mindset among the Jews? Jonah was angry when the people of Nineveh repented; the Jews complained when Jesus went for ministry at Zacchaeus’ house. All these and more were demonstrations of God reaching out to ‘a prodigal son’, and some ‘elder brother’ gets angry. We are warned against this selfish and opportunistic mindset when the Lord saves us by his grace.

What about their father? He is a good good father… He embodied the second and most important worldview. Twice he gives the reason for the celebration: the young man ‘was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ He told this to the servants who made ready for the party, and he told the same to his elder son – an emphasis that we should not miss by all means. It is the reason to celebrate! It is comforting that no matter how deep you feel you’ve fallen, no matter what the servants think, no matter what the elder brother says, the Father is determined to celebrate the return of a prodigal.

He is determined to save the Gentiles, the Samaritans, the ‘labeled sinners’, and He is determined to save you. Have you received the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour? Come join the party as more repent and return home. Are you still confused, disappointed, lost or even dead in sin? Just arise and start the journey to the Father; His arms are wide open to receive, forgive and embrace you back as a child – Alive Again!