“Then He called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said, “whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up the cross and follow me.”
As we celebrate once again the August 13 experience — of a bunch of Moravians being filled with the Holy Spirit and shedding the carnal life for one of true meaning and purpose without giving what they were giving up much of a second thought — we cannot help but recognize our celebration against the backdrop of some serious challenges for people of faith today.
According to the Pew Research Center, there are over 2.2 billion people who call themselves Christians in this world, roughly one third of this planets population. However, according to the same research center, mainline Christianity worship attendance and financial stewardship in much of the western hemisphere is in steep decline; startling statistics that have not been seen since the great depression. To those who study such things, there seems to be no shortage of answers as to why but one does not have to look much further than the Gospels to discover a clue.
In Jesus’ day, He too had many that said count them in, he had enthusiastic crowds that could not wait to cheer him on and lined the streets in their approval, yet he warned them that the road to life-transforming discipleship was narrow and the cost was steep! You see, to deny ourselves in our day is counterintuitive to what we have been taught since we were infants. We are constantly bombarded with slick advertising that suggests we deserve it all and can do it all…the problem is for those if us who have had a lot of years to try many have recognized through experience that it is a moving target and simply not sustaining.
Jesus said that to truly follow him would be tough stuff and risky business. But, he also said, actually promised, that those who did would not only be called his disciples but would receive the reward of all rewards…the gift of eternal life!
So the choice is always there…do what I want to do or do what I know God wants me to do! My prayer is that we can join each other in love and hope in the latter!
Serving together, Pc