10 March 2021
Following Christ has never been easy. In fact, we are asked to deny ourselves and take up our crosses, to follow Jesus. If you’re giving up chocolate, carbs, soda, or any other comfort food for Lent, you know just how difficult a small sacrifice can be. You might even find yourself having “just one bite” when your willpower gives out.
In these verses, Jesus makes it clear that discipleship is challenging. But our reward in heaven will be great. Living in 2021, we are often confronted with a gospel that emphasizes God’s mercy and generosity, while ignoring that God asks something of us, too. He asks that we deny ourselves. He asks for our obedience. Our lenten offerings, given as a sacrifice to God, strengthens our obedience. It’s like spiritual weight-lifting.
In this day, it can be unpopular to follow rules, or even to talk about following rules, especially rules of morality, such as those contained in the Ten Commandments. But as Christians, we are called to speak truth, and we’ve been called to rise above the trends of popular culture.
As theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer taught, “Salvation is free, but discipleship will cost your whole life.” Do you have the heart and courage to live as Jesus teaches us? Even when it’s hard? Even when nobody else is watching? Are you willing to thoughtfully and lovingly speak out and defend our faith in a culture that does not share our values?
If there was ever a time when we should act in a way which glories God, and speak words that are consistent with our faith, now is that time!
Lord, you call us to “be salt of the earth” and “light of the world.” Help us to understand the responsibility we have to share Gospel by our actions and by our words. Give us courage, we pray. Amen.