Posted by: mikenicholsblog | August 25, 2014

Christ above all

Friday was another mike day.  My daughter and I have coded when we do something funny, dumb or absent-minded as a mike. My mike came by trying to remove a lateral file cabinet (big) from our basement. A good friend, who works with us, was in need of just such a cabinet, so we decided to finish the job on Friday. After taking two of the file drawers out of the cabinet, we determined that we could remove the cabinet with the help of my old, small dolly. Wrong conclusion!  With the cabinet and dolly stuck in position half way up the stairs (and fearing for my life), my wife bolted to a neighbor’s house begging for help.  With no friends in sight, she ran to a stranger’s house, pounding on the door.  After a quick introduction, she blurted, “Do you have a man in the house?”  The stunned lady obliged and Steve (our new best friend) saved the day.  A close call all because my friend and I didn’t count the cost.

Words that I read yesterday morning from the lips of Jesus were all about counting the cost. The cost of discipleship, that is. On one particular day, Jesus was being followed by a large crowd, and made what may seem to many to be a strange or even contradictory statement.  If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:26 ESV) Was He asking those following Him (and us today) to hate those they loved to be a follower of His?  Certainly not! The context of the words of Jesus was to compare the love for family and our self to how we love Him. So the word “hate” was used to show a stark comparison, to emphasize His view of discipleship. Most Christ-followers struggle with the high cost of genuine discipleship … Christ above all!

Since this is such an important subject for all believers, I will take two posts to examine the cost of discipleship.  Salvation is a free gift that comes by faith; discipleship is for those willing to pay a price. The question for you and I is, are we willing to pay the price of genuine discipleship? … Christ above all!  In studying this subject, I came across a message by Tom Rietveld in which he quoted words that I believe convey my point better than I could:

Few sermons have affected me more than Bishop Richard Snyder’s powerful message given at the 1995 Free Methodist General Conference in Anderson, Indiana. The thing that Bishop Snyder said that most affected me in his 1995 message was this… “We must be a discipled…people. It is absolutely essential for us to return to a thorough study of the Scriptures. Pop-theology, found in so many of the easy-to-read and popular books has left the church with a generation of believers who have little knowledge of the Word of God… We are calling the church to purposeful, serious attention to God’s Word. Without this, we will miss His Way and we will starve spiritually. Neglect of this is the one and only thing that will take us away from our roots and spoil our fruitfulness.”

Finally, I want to share two sentences with you from the man who was said to be C. S. Lewis’ favorite Christian author, G. K. Chesterton. He said…

The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult, and left untried.
G. K. Chesterton in “What’s Wrong with the World,” Christianity Today, Vol. 39, no. 1.

I am willing to admit my periodic mikes.  In this particular one, I didn’t count the cost. I’m sure you can relate. I never want to be a Mike that is unwilling to count the cost of discipleship, because then I will have made a decision to choose my own way above the way of Christ.  Are you willing to consider with me the cost of discipleship? And then say, “YES! Christ above all!”


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