Are You High Maintenance? Don’t Bother to Apply
by Pastor George Van Alstine
Jesus doesn’t call high maintenance disciples. He made the ultimate sacrifice for us, and he expects to see that same sacrificial spirit emerge in his followers.
Instead of reading a different passage of Scripture as a devotional each day, I challenge you to stay in the same passage, Luke Chapter 12, for the next month. Just about every episode recorded in this chapter touches on the conflict between following Jesus and looking for material comfort and security.
“Do not fear those who kill the body” (verse 4). People and circumstances that keep us from fulfilling our fleshly desires are “killing the body” little by little. This can never hurt our spirits, which are secure in God’s hands. He keeps watch over sparrows, which can be bought “five for two pennies” (verse 6), and he certainly values us, created in his image, much more than sparrows. He even keeps count of “the hairs of your head” (verse 7).
“Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me” (verse 13). While this may be an important issue to decide, it’s even more important to realize that settling this dispute can easily lead into unhealthy materialism on both sides. “Be on guard against all kinds of greed, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions” (verse 15). The spiritual relationship between the two brothers is much more important than their relative bank accounts.
“The land of a rich man produced abundantly” (verse 16). He had no room to store his crops, so he built bigger and bigger barns (verses 17-18). The man congratulated himself: “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry” (verse 19). But God saw only the poverty of his spirit and called him a “fool.” “So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God” (verse 21).
“Do not worry about your life, for life is more than food, and the body more than clothing” (verses 22-23). “Consider the ravens, consider the lilies,” think about “the grass of the field” — God takes care of all of them, and “how much more” will he take care of you? (verses 24, 27-28). If you choose to live in his kingdom, you will find that “these things will be given to you as well” (verse 31).
“It is God’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” That’s why you are liberated to “sell all your possessions and give alms” (verses 32-33). If you possess everything in God’s kingdom, you don’t need anything in this world’s realm. If you embrace this truth, “where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (verse 34).
“Blessed is the servant whom his master will find at work when he arrives” (verse 43). But the servant who ignores his responsibilities, instead abusing fellow servants, “eating, drinking and getting drunk,” will lose his master’s favor and will no longer be “in charge of all his possessions” (verses 44-45). So, in our relationship with God, “everyone to whom much has been given, from them much will be required” (verse 48).
A person who wants to live by the world’s rules will find the cost high: “You will be thrown into prison and will never get out until you have paid the very last penny” (verses 57-59). The cost of following Jesus is nothing compared to the cost of following the world.
All this in the same chapter of Luke’s Gospel. Do you think Jesus was trying to make a point? There’s no job description for high maintenance disciples