I read a story about a first grader on his first day of school. At noon, he started putting up his books...after all, in kindergarten, he had gone home at noon. But his teacher informed him that it wasn't time to go home yet. There was lunch, and then there were a few more hours left in the school day. The kid put his hands on his hips and said, "Who on earth signed me up for this program?"
That's how some of you may feel by now. We're spending on Sunday mornings in 2011 on the parables of Jesus, and for the last month, we've been talking about some of His stories of commitment. After a month of hearing about how Jesus commands complete obedience, how you have to sell all you have to follow Him, how we shouldn't desire to be rich by the world's standards but rich toward God, you may be thinking, "Who on earth signed me up for this program?" The answer, of course, is that you did. If we are Christians, we are called to be disciples, and that is a radical thing. It doesn't often get preached that way these days. Here in American Christianity, we want to make everything glossy and attractive and marketable to that key 18-34 year old, upwardly mobile demographic. So we play up all the easy, inviting stuff in the Bible, and ignore the difficult, challenging stuff in God's Word. All so we can get more people in our pews than they have in that other church. This week, as we finish off this section of the parables, we'll look at Jesus' radical call, with two short parables in Luke 14:28-33. Note also vv. 25-27.