Hating your family, submitting to a death sentence and avoiding the manure pit … nice huh? We studied Luke 14 and 15 this week at new staff training this week. It says in verse 25 that “large crowds were following Jesus.” I wonder how many still were after this ridiculous teaching! Wow. Sometimes I really think Jesus was and is ridiculous.
We discussed if Jesus really meant we should “hate” our families, if it meant we really had to give up our material possessions, etc. As we pushed back a bit, it struck me that perhaps we were focused on the wrong things.
Jesus said, “If anyone comes to me…” “If you call yourself my disciple…” Yes, there is a cost. In other closed countries there is a great cost I in the West have a hard time conceptualizing. But look at what we receive: we get to come to Jesus. We get to be associated with him.
Luke 15 holds some of the most famous parables: the shepherd with the lost sheep, the widow with the lost coin and the prodigal son. Jesus paints an accurate, surprising image of the Father for the crowds: full of sinners and Pharisees and teachers. And that image is ridiculous. Relentless. Unabashedly extravagant. A woman. Foolish. Wasteful. Willing to lose reputation and status. JOYFUL. Filled with joy when what was lost gets found.
I have to say the times when I have had the most fun in life is when I am hanging out with people and they get found. We had parties. We celebrated with present. We laughed. We started to pray for their lost friends.
Now I know some of you don’t like the word “lost.” Well, Jesus tells me, one who calls herself a disciple, to hate my kids. It’s not easy on either side of this deal, just so you know. In the last 5 days, following Jesus meant hauling the Asker 4 around Minneapolis, Rochester, Winona and then LaCrosse. We have slept in 3 places and been in 10 different locations. Brian and I have tag-teamed keeping our kids occupied while teaching at new staff training. Whew. Then yesterday as we backed out of the driveway, I ran over our host’s garbage cans. Nope, they were empty, thank you Jesus. Satan hates me but God loves me more!
Ok. This is not exactly “suffering,” but it hasn’t been super easy either.
When we are found, when we come to him and follow, what a wild, joyful, ridiculous ride it is.
Speaking of ridiculous rides, you can pray for us since we have a 5 hour car ride home this afternoon!
Sometimes it means the kids get to visit a new place: kids museum in LaCrosse WI.