Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Finally Counting the Cost

The feature article for the November edition of Lutheran Witness is interesting. It is called "Living a Life of Significance in a Post-Christian Culture" by Dr. Kurt Senske. You can find the article here.

I have to admit, the title worried me when I first saw it. An article with that kind of title could go a bunch of ways in the wrong hands. With great relief I saw that there were no trendy gimmicks or new doctrines here. Instead, Dr. Senske did a fantastic job of communicating some very old ideas about the doctrine of vocation in a fresh, new way that uses the modern language of today's audience to address the modern perceptions of the timeless problems of discipleship. It's a good read.

I got to thinking about the topics discussed in this article in view of the Parable of the Pearl of Great Price. Dr. Senske's reference to Bonhoeffer reminded me of many things that I had considered for the first time when reading the "Cost of Discipleship".

It's sad really. Sometimes I get it in my head that I am pulling this off to some extent. I look at the Pearl of Great Price and think that I am eagerly selling all that I have and turning my back on temporary materialism for the eternal treasure in Christ. I realize in my head and my heart that these things pass away and that my security is in Jesus. Then what happens? The moth comes in and destroys. The thieves break in and steal. The cost of discipleship actually requires something of me more than mere lip-service. The cause of Christ heaps the smallest amount of shame, persecution, and hardship on me. The test comes.

...and I find myself resenting it.

I find myself hating that I can't have my cake and eat it too. I find myself disappointed and dissatisfied. I find myself getting angry that the wicked prosper and the cheaters always seem to finish first. I find myself upset that I am losing at a pointless game that I told myself I was no longer playing. I talk a good game about being counter-cultural, but my heart is not in the fight like I thought it was. I realize that in my heart of hearts I really want it both ways. I want the Pearl of Great Price and I want my worldly treasures. Like the disciples, I claim to be willing to follow Christ to death, but I shun participating in His rejection and shame.

I want to be a disciple of Christ..... but also remain a son of the world at the same time. The truth is that I really love this materialism and self-worship. Denial of self just causes me to miss self-gratification more intensely. I've been paying bills with my mouth that my pocket can't afford. I've been arrogantly building my tower and have not first sat down to count the cost. What does this theology of the cross really mean in my life? Where has my heart been set really?

Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.

1 comment:

Dan said...

Great post, Mike.

Hey, I hope you don't mind, I added you to