iMonk has written a powerful piece on the true cost of discipleship for some of the students to whom he ministers. As I read and re-read his words, I could not get some of his pointed words out of my head…
As I am standing in front of this young woman, and I’m thinking how easily we present Christ to these students; how we sing songs and have fun; how our biggest obstacle is boredom; how we never give a thought to real persecution; real cost or real suffering.
How true! How often do we bicker, argue, or even change congregations because we are bored?! Bored with the preaching. Bored with the teaching. Bored with the fellowship. Bored with the worship. Though there are real problems with many churches, many times we are quick to ‘jump ship’ or even imagine (i.e. rationalize) problems are more serious than they really are, to the point where we break fellowship without giving it a second, or first, though. We can come up with many, many excuses, but they all fall short and ring hollow in the face of real crises of faith.
You never thought about it, because it never cost you much to follow Jesus, but that’s because you are following Jesus in the world of the comfort addicted, tolerance intoxicated west, not the world where parents and family can justify your exile and even execution for being a Christian.
Amen. Many of us in the West would be hard pressed to truthfully say we had given up anything to follow Christ. Maybe we’ve suffered some ridicule. That’s probably about it. Big deal. The notion (let alone the reality) that following Christ may result in family ostracism or death is as far-fetched to us a science-fiction novel.
We should follow Michael’s lead in praying for those who live in need of Christ as well as those who believe at great personal risk to family and self. We should also pray for those of us who are so woefully naive and detached from the reality facing our Christian brothers and sisters around the world.
Kyrie eleison; Christe eleison; Kyrie eleison.
Κύριε ἐλέησον, Χριστὲ ἐλέησον, Κύριε ἐλέησον.
Lord have mercy; Christ have mercy; Lord have mercy.