Jesus listed one more requirement of discipleship to the multitudes that day:
So therefore, no one of you can be My disciple who does not give up all His own possessions (Luke 14:33).
Again, it would seem logical to conclude that Jesus was using hyperbole. We don’t need to give up all of our possessions in the sense that we are left without shelter, clothing and food. We must, however, certainly give up all of our possessions in the sense of turning their ownership over to God, and to the degree that we are no longer serving mammon, but serving God with our mammon. The result could certainly mean giving up many unnecessary possessions and living a simple life of godly stewardship and sharing, as did the early Christians we read about in the book of Acts. Being Christ’s disciple means obeying His commandments, and He commanded His followers to not lay up treasures on earth, but to lay them up in heaven.
In summary, according to Jesus, if I am to be His disciple, I must bear fruit. I must love Him supremely, much more than even my own family members. I must be willing to face the inevitable hardships that will arise as a result of my decision to follow Him. And I must do what He says with my income and possessions. (And many of His commandments have something to say in this regard, so I must not fool myself, as so many do, saying, “If the Lord told me to do something with all my possessions, I would do whatever He said.”)
And these are the kinds of committed followers of Christ that we as ministers are supposed to be making! That is our God-ordained goal! We are called to be disciple-making ministers!
That is a foundational truth that many ministers around the world are completely missing. If they evaluate their ministries, as I did, they will have to conclude, as I did, that they are falling far short of God’s desire and expectation. When I considered the level of commitment to Christ demonstrated by the people of my congregation, I had little doubt that there were many who could not be classified as true disciples.
Pastors, take a look at your congregation. How many of your people does Jesus consider to be His disciples according to His criteria in Luke 14:26-33? Evangelists, is the message you preach producing people who are committing themselves to obey all of Christ’s commandments?
Now is the time to evaluate our ministries, before we stand before Jesus at the final evaluation. If I’m falling short of His goal, I’d rather discover it now than then. Wouldn’t you?