In a world that aims to improve the quality of life, end suffering, and prolong our existence thinking about personal cost already seems like a negative value to be avoided. But in the gospel whenever Jesus talked about discipleship He emphasized the suffering, humiliation, and rejection it might cause in one’s life, so as Disciples of Christ we cannot evade the question of the cost of discipleship in our lives.
Being a Christian in the west could be easier than in some other parts of the world where you can lose your life because of your faith. Imagine living in some Asian countries where faith in Christ could result in discrimination and persecution and surrounded by negative energy. Jesus said, “…whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” (Mark 8:34)
I asked a few friends this question about the cost of discipleship in the Netherlands and they were bewildered. They had read the passages about the out cost of discipleship, but how exactly this fit into their daily routine did not come to their mind before.
The cost of discipleship could be different for each Christian, depending on your circumstances. Indeed some have paid it through their lives, but others did in a different way: emotionally, psychologically, economically, and in other ways where they could have chosen to walk away into their comfort zone. So, there is no unified way of measuring the cost of discipleship, one thing is for sure there is a cost. This aspect of our faith in Christ rejects reducing Christian faith as a remedial formula for the problems of or questions about life. The moment you put faith in what God has done in Christ turns into a statement of rejecting the values of the world around us contrary to the way of the cross.
Some may not prefer to help a homeless person because it is the responsibility of the government. But as Christians, we choose to take that upon ourselves and experience the discomfort of offering your own bed, food, and resources to the person deprived of them. This cost could come in many forms and shapes, but one thing is for sure, there is a cost to following Christ.
In a world that strives to make life comfortable the idea of bearing the cost for conviction and faith may not seem pleasant to many. A mere look around us would reveal that we are bent to remove all obstacles around us to make our lives better. So, when Christ calls us to bear the cost of following Him in the world, it will be uncomfortable and might sound archaic. But living with Christ means non-conforming to the patterns and behavior of the world, which will lead to being lonely, unpopular, and rejected for doing the right thing and we should be ready to bear this cost for following Christ in this world.