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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Monday, September 2, 2019           

Today’s Scripture Reading | Luke 14:25–33

Now large crowds were traveling with him; and he turned and said to them, “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him, saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going out to wage war against another king, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand? If he cannot, then, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for the terms of peace. So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions. (NRSV)

Labor Day is a good day to contemplate our “work” and how we acquire and use our resources. Today’s passage from Luke provides us with an opportunity to explore what I will call the “economics” of discipleship. The passage begins with a strong renunciation: hate your family and take up your cross to follow Jesus. It then presents two parables about “calculating the cost”: a common farmer calculating the cost of building of a watchtower to protect his possessions, and a king calculating the costs of war in order to protect (and enlarge) his power.

Renounce your family and count the costs. Our faith requires a commitment of all of our resources. That’s certainly not an easy message to hear, let alone follow.

In her book The Soul of Money: Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Life, Lynne Twist invites us to consider a transformed relationship with our financial resources: “In a world that seems to revolve around money,’” she writes, “it is vital that we deepen our relationship with our soul and bring it to bear on our relationship with money” (as opposed to the other way around).

The book provides thought-provoking ideas, stories, and challenges on how to do just that. It’s a good read as we explore our own relationship with money and work.

Both Lynne Twist and the Gospel writer Luke suggest that a more full and joyful participation in the realm of God is possible through a careful examination of our resources and how we acquire and use them.

So today, let’s celebrate our truest labor—working together to mobilize all of our resources to forward the realm of God.

Gracious God, may following you be our best work. May we come to see it as the most fulfilling vocation possible. Amen.

Written by Stuart Jamieson, Major and Planned Giving Officer

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