July 11th, 1962 “Cost of Discipleship” Late Mr. N. Daniel
Luke 14:26, 27
“If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross and come after me, cannot be my disciple."
Jesus is speaking about the conditions that decide discipleship. These are very drastic conditions. To follow them is not easy. But the fruit of such obedience will last for ever. “There are strange conditions here.” Hate your father, mother, wife and children! Can you hate them when they promote your spiritual life? No! This applies to them when they hinder your spiritual life. When one wants to serve the Lord sometimes the father or mother or brother or sister may be a hindrance. In St. Francis' case it was his father. The father drew him to court and took away from him all the money and clothes he had given him. St. Francis said, 'You are no more my father. Only the heavenly father is my father.' He became a great spiritual man and the spiritual graces God gave him were developed to the highest degree.
In your old age you will remember a careless father or mother and say “My father has ruined my life. These tears and sorrows are due to the irreligious life of my father which I learnt also.” Today, parents are the greatest hindrance to young people's spiritual life. What Jesus says is true. At this time of the great need in the church for holy and consecrated young people, parents are the greatest hindrance. They laugh at the immoral life of their children. Are they parents or cobras who swallow their young ones? Some of them see the early and untimely death of their children. I warned and warned a friend of mine in this regard. (He lost his wife and he put his children in the care of his ungodly mother-in-law) But he did not heed it and buried three of his young grown up children. I counselled him led by God but he did not take it. He would not take up his responsibility for them but thought God would do everything for him.
The second condition is a man has to take up his cross daily and follow Him. When a man becomes religious, he thinks God must give him everything. Yes, God will give you everything when you become a servant to all. A true Christian will not hesitate to be a cook or a labourer. Karthar Singh, a rich young man worked as a labourer, for his clothes when driven out of his home. That is bearing the cross. An evangelist's life is not an easy one. One has to work hard. Prayer is not easy. Taking on the burdens of others and praying for them is not easy. Pastors today grieve over the privileges the Bishop has not given them instead of grieving over the young people in their church living in sin and over the divided families in their church. You must bear your cross. Do not be a pastor or an evangelist unless God calls you. If you work hard, God will look after your economic needs. The real cross and loss is our selfishness and self-love. You have to break your own nature. Our enemy is our own nature. We can't be humble. It is not easy to be meek. In every action and every word you will find pride coming in. In God's presence you will find that your own nature is your enemy because of which you are not able to bear fruit. When you decide to follow Jesus you must calculate the cost carefully. In some families the standards are so low that any amount of teaching cannot be accepted by them. Such people cannot serve God. “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread!” Be careful. Can you follow? How far can you follow? It is very hard. Christian life is not easy. Many started this life with me. But they could not follow. The prayer life that preceded that step was not enough.
Before you build a tower, first take an inventory of how much material you have on hand. I saw the Kutub Minar in Delhi. There was another construction by its side. Another king wanted to build a higher tower and built a big basement. After building to a few feet more he died. Jesus says “Have you the material? Have you the cement of love? Will your life help you?” In many countries, children pull down the spiritual labours of their parents. They want monetary advantages only. Jesus said “Be careful. Correct calculation is needed.”
If your relatives are not spiritual do not take their counsel. Take the counsel of true children of God. Here Jesus says, “If relatives are a hindrance the disciple should hate them.” One of the strategies of modern and ancient warfare is to carefully investigate the opponent's strength. The British and the French failed to estimate Hitler's strength before the battle in France in the last war. Hitler hid his strength. They underestimated his strength and were defeated. Do you know the strength of the devil? Did you study the Bible well? Did you read how some godly men succumbed to temptation? How Samson failed? How Asa failed in his old age? How David once failed? Know the strength of the enemy. Once when I was rejoicing over a certain victory in my youth. God said “Be careful, if I was not with you, you would have failed. There is not a saint on the earth Satan cannot overthrow. It is God’s presence that saves you. Be humble. Be careful.” Do not try to do anything for God without counting the cost.