Some stayed on the beach.
Some went in the boat.
Some hang out in the Kingdom.
Some serve the King.
Some enjoy so-called freedom.
Some are truly free.
Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? . . . In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples (Luke 14:28, 33).
In Western culture, the owner, contractor, and architect sit down to estimate the cost of a building before they shovel even that first scoop of dirt. If the owner can’t afford it, the architect makes modifications or they wait for more money. Few things are sadder than a half-finished, overgrown skeleton of a building. It means someone failed . . . and lots of people didn’t get paid.
The undertaking of following Jesus whole-heartedly is of far greater significance than a new house or office building. Following Him means becoming His slave.
Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus . . . (Rom. 1:1 NIV)
I, Paul, am a devoted slave of Jesus Christ . . . (Rom. 1:1 MSG)
Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus . . . (Rom 1:1 NASB)
You’ve probably heard about the voluntary slavery of Bible times. If an indentured servant decided he didn’t want to leave at the end of his term, the owner would pierce his ear (basically). It’s in Deuteronomy 15, if you want to read about it.
What does it cost to become the permanent, forever-after slave of Jesus Christ? Can you just get your ear pierced and be done? I got my ears pierced when I was a kid and again when I was eighteen. Believe me, that’s not what my piercings mean.
Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions . . .” (Matthew 19:21)
We walk from so-called freedom into this servitude. Imagine first selling absolutely everything you own—down to your spare toothbrush and your warmest winter coat, your e-mail accounts and your 401k. Then you step in front of the King (we are, after all, becoming servants of THE King), and you lay every penny that you made on the floor in front of His throne. On top of that stack of money, you lay your skills and talents, your degrees and certificates, your reputation, your parenting philosophies, even your marriage. Scary? My hands shake even typing it.
These actions say, “I absolutely and completely trust you, my King and Lord, to supply everything I need and to direct every action I take.” You leave off worrying about whether or not you’ll need that big winter coat tomorrow because you know He’ll have the perfect overcoat ready for you tomorrow morning since He knows exactly what the weather will be. You stop worrying about your reputation because you bear His Name (synonymous with His reputation), and it is without equal. You no longer rely on your résumé because He already knows exactly what assignments fit you and will satisfy you. Thus, you finally find peace because you trust Him. It seems backwards–unlike what we expect. It’s that uncommon sense again.
In not a fan, Kyle Idleman puts it like this, “When you finally surrender all that you have and all that you are you will discover the strangest thing. It’s only by becoming a slave to Jesus that we ever truly find freedom” (153).