Emmitsburg Council of Churches


The Holy Gospel according to St. Luke 14:25–33

Now large crowds were traveling with him; and he turned and said to them, 14:26 "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. 14:27 Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. 14:28 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? 14:29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him, 14:30 saying, 'This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.' 14:31 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? 14:32 If he cannot, then, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for the terms of peace. 14:33 So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions.

The Gospel of the Lord . . .

What is the Price
that must be Paid?

If someone is going to live solely for Jesus, What is the Price that must be Paid? Actually, it's not a matter of paying something out, . . . but it may mean giving something up. For Jesus asks us this morning: "Are you willing to Renounce your Allegiance to every Concern that competes with what I have said or taught you?"

Notice how Jesus goes to that which is most precious to us . . , our own family members – Mothers, Fathers (Ok Teens: You do need your parents . . . I'll explain what Jesus means in a minute) On the other hand, Parents are to place the Lord, as more important than children . . . but again, don't worry kids – (Mom and Dad will not forsake you nor forget about you.)

What is most important here is that Jesus has gotten our attention!!!

Will we make a commitment to him that we are able to keep? – Or Will we allow the allegiances that life brings and challenges us with -- draw us away from the faith and eventually abandon the Lord? Jesus has our attention and he wants for us to consider where our priorities are . . .

Brochures that beckon visitors to Alaska depict breathtaking mountains, pristine seascapes, and plentiful opportunity. Few explain how difficult life can become there. Hence, newcomers experience some surprises at the array of abandoned homes, vehicles, and places of business that dot the Alaskan landscape. Unfinished and barely used structures stand in silent testimony to the harsh, unforgiving winters and to dreams that failed under their assault.

In a similar fashion, You and I have failed projects and failed ambitions that haunt the landscapes of our lives. There are unfinished projects in the basement, the garage and in our attics. Other aspects of life show where we lost site of commitment or priorities: Abandoned marriages and friendships lie strewn in our wake.

Perhaps we didn't count the cost or couldn't imagine what genuine commitment might ultimately require. The same goes for our responses to vocation and discipleship. Most of us know too well what the builder, Jesus, describes in the lesson, the person with the half-built tower (or car or addition to the house) becomes the town joke, or the general who entered battle short-handed or ill advised* (*an unfortunate modern reality), becomes the object of ridicule. Perhaps we'll do better one day, but we'll never be rid of all our failures.

Jesus is telling his audience – you and I today, that to be a participant in the family of God, one needs to carefully consider the commitment involved. It's not that Jesus really wants us to abandon our loved ones in some kind of a fanatical religious frenzy, in fact, it is quite the opposite. We need to understand that Jesus is speaking to people who were used to his "eye and ear opening" teaching style. Yes, it is a radical call to coming under the umbrella of the kingdom that Jesus is revealing – it is a call to prioritizing our loyalties. First we are to view ourselves as children of God, and secondly, children of our birth families and thirdly citizens of a nation.

Jesus calls us to think on what it is that he is saying, and then to make acting on HIS WORD the first priority. "If you love me, you will keep my commandments."

Jesus tells us, that ", none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions. And it seems that Jesus has found out that many of his would- be disciples are caught up in an IDENTITY CRISIS. So Jesus finds it necessary to tell us that we must consider the cost of FULLY IDENTIFYING OURSELVES in him! As the Lord says elsewhere, "You must deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me."

"In the end, it doesn't matter how many unfinished projects or how much debris we leave behind. Christ, who calls us to discipleship, finished his project. He faced the army alone. His curious tower, the cross outside Jerusalem, stands complete. That's enough, both for him and for us who are baptized into his cruciform project.

When visitors ask Alaskans why nobody cleans up those abandoned vehicles and buildings, they respond with their own surprise. "Are you kidding?" they reply. ‘That's our parts department. If we need wood, wire, or a whole wall, we go to one of those and get it! The same if someone lacks a starter motor or a headlight.' In a way, the body of Christ works like that. To God, even our unfinished projects have some use. By God's grace, a bit of mine and a piece of yours eventually amount to a whole tower. God isn't finished with any of us just yet."

Jesus does not wish that we would languish in shame about the things we have not been able to accomplish in the frailties of our lives, nor in the Vanity of our unsuccessful plans, and incomplete schemes.


Jesus Calls us from our earthly regrets and our Earthly IDENTITY and asks us to RECONSIDER our commitment to IDENTIFYING OUR SELVES WITH HIM! Don't follow in the way of human frailty, but consider that the price for your REDEEMED IDENTITY (In Christ Jesus) has been paid.

Identifying ourselves with Jesus, the Resurrected, reigning King of Glory . . We don't have to identify ourselves any longer with a particular heritage. Our family of decent, our family tree is no longer relevant when we are fully identifying ourselves as children of God! Instead, Christ Calls us to attach ourselves with the Word that has become flesh. The One who was Raised from the dead becomes first and foremost our reason for living. It is not that we despise our families, our children of parents. . . . but more that our priorities change. Christ becomes first and foremost our reason for doing whatever it is that we do . . . (not upholding the family tradition) but redefining the family tradition under the umbrella of Christ's life, love and calling on our lives.

Ending Prayer

THANKS BE TO GOD who gives us all of his love in Jesus. May we rededicate ourselves to following him, to building his kingdom and to loving one another.


Read more writings of Pastor Jon