What do disciples of Jesus do with their money? For the past few episodes, we’ve been talking about the very important subject of discipleship, what it means to be a disciple.
Hopefully, you’re in full agreement with me that there are no two categories of Christians, believers and disciples. That, in fact, all true believers in Jesus are disciples. Because if you believe in Jesus, you’re going to follow and obey Him and be willing to pay whatever price that you have to in order to successfully follow Him.
Counting the Cost of Being a Disciple of Jesus Christ
Although His commands are not burdensome (see 1 John 5:3) and His yoke is easy and His burden is light (see Matthew 11:30), that’s primarily because He’s given us the Holy Spirit to help us bear the burden.
And fitting that in with the rest of the Scripture, sometimes, there’s a huge price to pay for following Jesus. There have been millions of people who have suffered the ultimate for following Christ. They gave their lives.
But those of us who haven’t necessarily had to give our lives, it’s cost us friendships, it’s cost us family members because we love Jesus the most. And if our family doesn’t like Jesus, they’re not going to like us anymore either.
Some of us, it’s cost us our job because we were unwilling to do something unethical that was required of us in order to be employed at a certain place.
What About Our Money?
It certainly has cost every disciple money, and why do I say that? Well, I say that because that’s one of the requirements to be a disciple. Everything comes under Christ’s Lordship, including all money and all possessions.
We’ve been reading in Luke 14, Jesus’ three requirements to become His disciple. One is you’ve got to hate your loved ones. The second one is that you’ve got to carry your cross. I believe that’s symbolic for being willing to embrace suffering.
What Jesus Taught About True Discipleship
Jesus continues in Luke 14 about the whole idea of counting the cost,
For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and consider whether he is strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. – vv. 28-32
The whole point of those two illustrations that Jesus gave were simply, don’t start unless you’re willing to see it through to the end. Don’t get into the battle if you don’t think that you can win. Count the cost.
When evangelists call people to make quickie decisions for Jesus and pray a little sinner’s prayer, they’re really doing them a great disservice. They ought to be telling them to consider, “If you decide to follow Christ, here are what could be the consequences. Because here’s what Jesus said that it takes to be His disciple.”
The Financial Cost of Following Christ
Now, let’s continue. Because I don’t want to forget what we were talking about, the whole idea of our money. In verse 33, Jesus says,
So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.
We have to love Jesus more than our loved ones, more than our own life, more than our comfort and convenience. And now, last, we have to love Jesus more than our possessions. As obedient disciples, everything that we thought we owned, now He owns. And we have to listen to Him as to what to do with it.
Well, we know, of course, that Jesus has things for us to do with our money. And one of those, of course, is to care for the “least of these”.
Caring for the “Least of These”
Remember in Matthew 25 where Jesus talked about the future judgment of the sheep and the goats? The very thing that determined whether or not people were saved and were welcomed into the Kingdom or unsaved and cast into hell was, did they sacrifice their time and their resources for the least of these, Whom Jesus defined as those who were suffering within His body. People who didn’t have food or clothing or water, people who were sick, people who were imprisoned, and so forth.
There’s no escaping this. No, no escaping this. Are you a disciple of Jesus Christ? Well, you can answer that question by answering this question: does my checkbook reflect that I’m a disciple of Jesus Christ.
Because nobody can say to you, God requires this percentage and no more or no less. I mean, some people try to focus in on the tithe, but Jesus said, “Don’t lay up treasures on this earth” (see Matthew 6:19-20). A true disciple is trying to lay up little on this earth and a lot in Heaven because that’s what Jesus taught. That’s what He commanded. Don’t lay up treasures on earth. Lay them up in Heaven.
Wrestling With Jesus’ Teachings on Money and Possessions Individually
Everybody has to wrestle with this individually. I know that, and so I’m not going to set any rules or regulations or percentages or tell you what kind of a car you can or cannot drive. Or how big of a house or that type of thing.
But if this is not a part of your Christianity, that is, stewardship…
Which I want to submit to you, honesty, it’s not part of a lot of people’s Christianity. They don’t ever care. They never talk about caring for the poor within the body of Christ. And their checkbook doesn’t reflect that they care.
Jesus said, “When you do it to the least of these, my brethren, you’ll do it unto me.” And to the goats, He said, “You didn’t do it for me, and you didn’t do it for the least of these, so you didn’t do it for me.”
This is our opportunity to show our love for Jesus by loving the “least of these” in whom He is dwelling. Suffering brothers and sisters in Christ.
Believing in “Bible Jesus”
You can see, I hope, from these Little Lessons that a lot of people who think that they’re believers in Jesus aren’t really believers in Jesus. They’re believers in some kind of Jesus, but not in “Bible Jesus”. Because if they believed in “Bible Jesus”, they’d be disciples of Jesus, and it’d be reflected by their lives and what they do with their time and their money and so forth.
Thank you so much for joining me. Good things to think about. Take a look yourself at Luke 14:25-35, and our next lesson, we’ll finish this out. God bless.