Monday April 8, 2019
Today’s Focus The risk of discipleship
Today’s Scripture Reading Luke 12:49-53
49 “I have come to set the world on fire, and I wish it were already burning! 50 I have a terrible baptism of suffering ahead of me, and I am under a heavy burden until it is accomplished. 51 Do you think I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I have come to divide people against each other! 52 From now on families will be split apart, three in favor of me, and two against—or two in favor and three against.
53 ‘Father will be divided against son
and son against father;
mother against daughter
and daughter against mother;
and mother-in-law against daughter-in-law
and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.’
Daily Reflection Pastor’s reflection
A friend of mine was once in a worship celebration when she felt the Holy Spirit working in her life. In that moment she made a decision to “follow her calling.” The next day she began to make arrangements at church to begin planting gardens throughout the church grounds. She felt as if God had personally called her to create beauty around the church campus in order that others would experience the beauty of God through nature!
The gardens were beautiful! The people in the community of faith responded in incredibly positive ways! Everything seemed to be right with the world…. Except in her own home. Her husband, who didn’t openly express his faith, was incredibly angry that his wife’s work at church seemed to “squeeze” her in what he saw as her responsibilities at home. The changes he saw in his wife’s behavior, staying calmer in stressful situations, not worrying so much about very worldly concerns, angered her husband because he could “no longer count on her to act the way she once did.”
Jesus reminds us in this passage that our commitment to “follow Christ” affects other areas of our lives also. Jesus warns in this passage that making a commitment to “follow” means that our attitudes change, our responsibilities to God take on greater significance. Jesus warns that people who make a commitment to “follow” will find that their relationships to others, even those closest to them, will be affected by their commitment and call to “follow God!” This happens simply because the believer allows God to shape our values, priorities, goals, and behaviors and forces us to examine and if necessary, change our old pattern of life. These changes can precipitate crisis in our relationships.
God understands how devastating such crises can be and warns us all that we need to be prepared to encounter such obstacles in our lives.
Some questions for reflection
- Earlier in this chapter Jesus shares stories about being “hypocritical” and stories about the way God desires us to deal with money and possessions and the need to prepare for the coming of the kingdom. In light of these teachings does Jesus teaching here change the way we “hear” or “see” them working in the world?
- The disciples in following Jesus gave up family, home, vocation in order to follow. Their lives were literally placed in jeopardy for their beliefs. How are “callings” in 2019 similar to these kinds of “callings” and how are they different?
Today’s discipleship challenge
In your thoughts and prayers, is there anything that you feel “passionate” about in your personal “calling” from God? Perhaps it’s in Bible study, prayer, service to others, or even planting flowers. Talk it over with your group… do you think that you’ll be able to follow? What obstacles in your relationships should you think about and how might you be able to smooth the transition?
Direct us, Lord God, in all our doings with Your most gracious favor, and extend to us Your continual help; that in all our works begun, continued, and ended in You, we may glorify Your holy name; and finally, by Your mercy, bring us to everlasting life; through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen