Monday, January 27, 2014

It is a nagging question: What is a disciple to do? (Psalm 32:1)

SCRIPTURE: Psalm 32:1 (TM) – larger reading Psalm 32
Count yourself lucky, how happy you must be - you get a fresh start, your slate's wiped clean.

James C. Fenhagen writes in Mutual Ministry: “The changes being demanded of us are almost beyond comprehension. For vast numbers of people living in the West – the world of the ‘haves’ – it will mean a total reorientation of life-styles. It will mean learning how to resist the urge to buy and the urge to eat, where submitting to those urges is our custom. It will mean discovering the simplicity which comes from an intentional life lived from inside out rather than from outside in. in the riches of the Christian tradition there are patterns for this kind of pursuit, early adapted to present needs. To adopt them, however, will require not only assistance, but ongoing support.”

We’ve heard a lot recently about the 1% who have 85% of all the wealth. Or the sobering fact that 85 people have a wealth greater than the rest of the world combined. Things are a little out of balance. What is a disciple to do?

We’ve worked hard and long to get to this level of living. We’ve saved, planned, dreamed, invested and now we are in a position to enjoy the fruits of our labors. What is a disciple to do?

The Psalmist talks about the joy of living because we are forgiven people. But, forgiven for what purpose? What is a disciple to do? Ah, therein lies the rub. We now have the resources along with the God given freedom to live a life of simplicity for the sake of others. It is that “intentional life lived from inside out”. Is this the call of discipleship? Are we to live for others?

BINGO! But don’t shock your system overnight. Begin slowly, but intentionally… with purpose.

Oh, where to begin? Well, here is a suggestion… begin with the food portions that we consume at each meal. We are great at consumption. We do that well while the rest of the world goes hungry. Do we really need that second helping? That second dessert? That plate with more food on it than a person in a 3rd world nation would consume in a week?

I remember, painfully, my mother admonishing me to eat my vegetables because “there were starving children in China.” It didn’t make sense then, but I’m trying to make sense of it now… especially as I am trying to relate my lifestyle, i.e. food consumption, to my discipleship.

If we just cut back on what we consume and do nothing else then we will lose weight and increase our bank account. Does being a disciple require more from us than mere portion control? Probably.

Here’s a thought: What if we did cut back on our food portions and increased our spending on non-perishable food for our local food banks for the homeless and hungry? What if we spent as much on buying food for those food banks that we spend on the food for our own table?

Discipleship is meant to be costly, but that is the intentional part of following Jesus. Discipleship is not simply telling others about Jesus and inviting them to attend church with us. It is about changing the world around us by changing ourselves. And, we have to start someplace why not in the grocery store? At the point of our daily living. Shoot-fire some of us probably spend more at Starbucks or eating out than we do for the local food bank.

It’s just a thought, trying to answer that nagging question: What is a disciple to do? Do you have a better answer?


Boy Lord this discipleship requires more from us than just some simple words. Do you really expect us to change everything about our life? Are we really supposed to change the world in which we live? Help us with this intentionality stuff. Make us uncomfortable until we start living as a disciple.

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