“…You are my inheritance, O Lord.”
Years ago, the Protestant pastor and theologian, Dietrick Boenhoeffer, who would be executed for standing up against Hitler’s Nazi regime, wrote a book called “The Cost of Discipleship.” He spoke against the tendency towards “cheap grace” that was rampant in European Christianity during his lifetime. He wrote:
“Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession… Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.”
He contrasted that “cheap” way of living Christianity with the reality of discipleship: following Jesus even to the Cross. Today’s readings highlight the high call of following Jesus: forsaking everything good in this world to follow Jesus wherever He goes. But why should you do this? If you have been settled into a comfortable Christianity that doesn’t really require anything of you, why would you trade that in for this high-bar discipleship that Jesus describes?
The reason is simple.
What we get is so much greater than what we give up. When we set everything else aside, we get everything because we get Jesus. It is only in following Jesus with our whole heart and life that we get everything our hearts are made for. The paradox of Christianity is this: if we put something before Jesus, even good things like family or possessions, then we end up with nothing. If we put Jesus first, then we get everything. But this is costly. It will cost your comfort. It will cost your safety. It will even cost your life. But what you get will be so much more. May God bless us as we are invited into the incredible adventure of authentic discipleship.