As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” He said to another man, “Follow me.” But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:57-60
One of the costs of following Jesus is the impact on our children. If we, as parents, try to shelter our children from the cross then we are guilty of the third temptation of Christ. Our children need to understand that there will not be a victorious life in Christ without following the footsteps to the cross. Not around the cross, as we often desire, but through the cross.
A co-worker once asked a Christian in Vietnam how he introduces the gospel in the villages where people have never heard about God. Without hesitating he answered “Oh very easily. I simply say, ‘I have good news for you but it might cost you your life, would you like me to continue?’ People want to hear good news and most of the time they eagerly ask me to tell them. But the introduction is always that there will be a cost involved because for us in Vietnam, being a Christian means a life of self-denial. When they are persecuted and imprisoned they are not surprised. They expect it.”
The co-worker went on to say, “It sometimes amazes me how we find it suitable to counsel our children regarding the costs involved in buying a new bicycle or starting a new hobby but we never sit down and discuss the cost of following Jesus. We need to train our children in no uncertain terms that being ridiculed at school, being rejected and facing mockery, is part and parcel of being a Christian. It comes in as a package and you cannot have the one without the other. We need to train our children to sacrifice; we need to train our children to count the cost; we need to train our children that they do not belong to themselves.
“Our lives are often based on our expectations. If we are confronted with the unexpected, we seldom know how to react. If we neglect to teach and expose our children to the reality of the cross, difficulties will come as a surprise.
“But, once again, if we as parents cannot testify through our lives by being examples of living sacrifices, our teachings will be futile. When was the last time you were ridiculed for the name of Jesus? When was the last time you sacrificed your time and money to work among the lost? When was the last time you sacrificed anything to visit the persecuted church?”
RESPONSE: Today I will be an example to my children and teach them the cost in following Jesus.
PRAYER: Lord, help me to be willing to sacrifice everything to follow You and to be an example.