“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.