I've been a disciple of Jesus for fifty-two years. Jesus has taught me many things! One thing I have learned is this: I'm not really one of Jesus' followers if I do not give everything up for his cause.
This is not over-the-top Christianity for religious fanatics. This is mere Christianity. Jesus himself taught this, in Luke 14:33. The Message translation says it this way.
“Simply put, if you’re not willing to take what is dearest to you,
whether plans or people,
and kiss it good-bye,
you can’t be my disciple."
Linda and I have always believed that all we have, and all our time, and all our selves belong to Jesus. We are stewards of what we have and what we are. God owns us, and distributes his provision through us, his disciples.
Have we been perfect at giving up everything for His cause? No. Do we believe this is what our Teacher expects of us? Yes. Have we given up our plans for his purposes? Yes.
In 1975, when Linda and I lived in Joliet, Illinois, a band called “The Second Chapter of Acts” was scheduled to give a concert in our area. I knew the concert promoter. He asked me to do a thirty-minute set before The Second Chapter came on stage.
I was excited! Many of my friends came to support me. I arrived at the concert venue early to get set up. My friend, the concert promoter, greeted me with a not-so-happy face. He said, "The band's leader, Buck Herring, has requested that no one play before they come on."
This was disappointing. So, I kissed it good-bye.
Linda and I loved watching the Second Chapter that night! Their songs, and harmonies, were amazing. Matthew Ward's voice was ridiculously beautiful.
Then, Buck Herring spoke. He talked about the cost of following Jesus. He gave an altar call, unlike most I had heard. He said, "If you are not willing to give up everything for Jesus, then do not come forward. Jesus is looking for followers tonight, not attenders or spectators."
I remember thinking that this was not real seeker-friendly. I was wrong. Many came forward. Here were people looking for a great cause to spend their lives on. They found it, in the cause of Christ.
Is there anyone out there who will give their life, their being, their stuff, their time, their abilities, completely to Jesus as Lord of all?
All to Jesus, a disciple surrenders, right?
I am giving everything I have for the sake of the Call.
I am turning my stuff over to Jesus, for his distribution.
As a disciple of Jesus, I have discovered the art of letting things go.
My time belongs to Jesus.
All to Jesus, I gladly surrender.
All to Jesus, I freely give.
I surrender all.
(From my book 31 Letters to the Church on Discipleship.)