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Luke Study #144 – Love Me More

The Gospel Of Luke

Luke 14:25-33 (CEV)

25 Large crowds were walking along with Jesus, when he turned and said:

26 You cannot be my disciple, unless you love me more than you love your father and mother, your wife and children, and your brothers and sisters. You cannot come with me unless you love me more than you love your own life.

27 You cannot be my disciple unless you carry your own cross and come with me.

28 Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. What is the first thing you will do? Won’t you sit down and figure out how much it will cost and if you have enough money to pay for it? 29 Otherwise, you will start building the tower, but not be able to finish. Then everyone who sees what is happening will laugh at you. 30 They will say, “You started building, but could not finish the job.”

31 What will a king do if he has only ten thousand soldiers to defend himself against a king who is about to attack him with twenty thousand soldiers? Before he goes out to battle, won’t he first sit down and decide if he can win? 32 If he thinks he won’t be able to defend himself, he will send messengers and ask for peace while the other king is still a long way off. 33 So then, you cannot be my disciple unless you give away everything you own.

Love Me More

Growing up, I was always uncomfortable with this verse. It always seemed like Jesus was being mean. I couldn’t figure out why Jesus would want to push people away and make it harder for them to follow him.

But sometimes life gives you new perspectives over the years.

It’s been over a year and a half now since my eldest child came to us and told us that they thought they were trans. They had already told us that they weren’t straight, which hadn’t come as much of a surprise, but I was less prepared for this one than I should have been.

That night as my husband was reeling from the news, and sleep eluded me, I realized I had little choice as to what I did next. I had chosen to love Jesus, and loving Jesus meant loving the least of these – which meant loving this child.

My mind whirled that night as I thought about various peoples’ responses. I knew what the church in general seemed to think on the subject, so there was a good chance we would lose our church. Coming from an evangelical family background, with missionaries as parents, there was a good chance we would lose our family. Given my husband’s initial response, I didn’t even know for sure what would happen there.

All I knew was that I had been called by Jesus’ love to be Jesus’ love to this child and to any others who fell on the edges and margins of what society feels comfortable with.

That evangelical background had taught me to read the Bible, and to ask ‘What Would Jesus Do?’ My parents had taught me that Jesus’ message extends out to the farthest reaches of humanity. But in today’s anti-LGBTQ+ culture, I had no guarantees that my choice to side with my child was going to go over very well.

As it happens, my choice to love has been met with incredible acceptance. It turns out that an awful lot of people, including those at Vox, have come to the same conclusion as I have – that the only way forward is in love.

As it happens, my parents have come to the same conclusion as well.

As it happens, my husband just needed to feel all of the conflicting emotions that come along with finding out something unexpected about someone you love, and he has been one of my child’s best, most loving advocates.

But the thing is, we don’t get to know how the future will play out when we make our decision to love.

And I think that this is why Jesus is telling people they need to be sure about what they’re doing before they move forward. Because choosing to follow Jesus doesn’t always end up with everything working out.

Sometimes choosing to follow Jesus leaves you permanently ostracized from your family.

Sometimes choosing to follow Jesus means a lifetime of poverty and obscurity.

Sometimes choosing to follow Jesus results in getting yourself killed.

And since these things are generally hard to come back from, you need to be sure – before you get started – that following Jesus is actually what you want to do with your life.

And to me, that seems like one of the most loving things Jesus could doJournal Questions:

  1. Do you like the idea of following Jesus?
  2. What do you think that includes?
  3. How might following Jesus be easy?
  4. How might following Jesus be really hard?
  5. What might the outcomes of following Jesus be in your life?
  6. Does that seem like a reasonable cost to pay?

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