“And anyone who does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 10:38-39)
This chapter gets at the heart of what Jesus is calling us each to do. First, follow him and be his disciple, and then go and make more disciples!
John Devries, writes, “When we “accept” the gift of salvation we are, according to our Savior’s own words, engaging in the ultimate exchange of value by giving up our life in return for his giving up his life for us.” Also
“We not only give up our life for him but for each other. “
John 13:34 “As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
Devries points out the “distorted modern Western church”, and how it’s become a “welfare society of spiritual parasites” because our relationship with God is being presented as a “one-way relationship with God”.
God gives to us, we receive and are blessed and our life is good, but today’s verse and John 13 tells us otherwise.
Our relationship with Jesus is suppose to be a two way, mutual relationship. He loves us, we love him and by his love for us, we reach out and love others, and invite them into have their own relationship with God.
Another reason the modern church is distorted according to Devries, is we seem to give for our own benefit, and our own comfort. The stats that he gives from The Encyclopedia of World Christianity are a real eye opener. “97 cents of each dollar given to the church goes towards maintaining its own programs, not making new disciples”. Really?
The first disciples gave up everything to follow Christ, and to continue his work to make more disciples.
Are we willing to do the same? Are we willing to sacrifice some of our time, money, and resources to reach out to others who are searching for the truth or struggling with their faith. Are we willing to go to a foreign land to share the gospel with the poorest of the world? Are we willing to go across the street or down the road to help a neighbor in need? Have we all gotten so comfortable in all our blessings that we don’t have time or even want to take the time to serve another to show the “love for one another” that we as Christians are suppose to be known for?
Devries writes in the last paragraph of the chapter, “Disciples are those who, in response to the love of Christ, are giving love to one another and to their neighbors.
So how much would your river increase if you measured your giving by the number of new rivers you had started?”
There is so much to think and pray about in this, it is so much more than I ever realized. To let our minds and hearts grow and expand, and to let our small ideas become God size ideas. To be part of the flowing river of love through Jesus Christ is so amazing!
Our Lord God,
You are so great, and so good, you show your love for us each day that we wake and each breath we take is a gift from you. Help us Lord, to give our love back to you and together our overflowing love will reach out to those around us!