“So therefore, any of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:23). What does it mean to renounce all that we have? Is Jesus asking us that we have to give up all our physical possessions in order to be his disciple?
By way of risking somebody taking what I say out of context, I am going to say “yes!” Jesus did not lie when He had stated this. Here is what Jesus meant by making this direct statement: Whatever takes a spot in our hearts leaves out room for God. If our jobs, possessions, families, etc possess our hearts, then what does God get? God must be sought after first, he does not take a lower place in the hearts of his true disciples (Matthew 6:33).
It is not in God’s nature to take second place. He is righteously jealous (Nahum 1:2), because to give your hearts to something that isn’t Him is to sacrifice to an idol. This is exactly what Nineveh, the ancient evil city Jonah successively ministered to, did. Just over two centuries after their repentance, they returned to their old masters – sin and idolatry. Therefore, God had to cut them down.
Who is our master? By this question, I mean this: who or what do we serve? There are probably some who would answer that they are their own masters. Others would probably answer that they are servants of their jobs or families. Though we ought to be our own masters in the sense that we are to master our own sinful desires (see Genesis 4:7), and though our families and occupation ought to have a high priority in our lives, they are not our masters. When Jesus uses the word “disciple” in Luke 14, it is not a word that we should take lightly. According to Milton Jones, author of Discipling: The Multiplication Ministry, a disciple is defined as “a learner who has conformed his mind, words, and actions to that of his master” (Jones 12). Give all to Him and conform to His image, this is the duty of a true disciple.
Do we conform our minds, our words, and our actions to our master – Jesus Christ? And does our master receive one-hundred percent of our hearts? These questions are up to you to answer.
– Joshua Dykes