You might have heard words like this before: “Jesus calls us to RADICAL discipleship! You must renounce all! You must follow Him! He had no place to lay His head, but you have comfortable homes in which you comfortably eat, watch television, tweet, and check FaceBook! Could you see Jesus doing that? It is time to get real; I mean REALLY REAL! Jesus calls us to RADICAL discipleship! Are you radical…enough?”
Sometimes these kinds of statements come when preachers or writers are making observations upon the accounts in the Gospels about what discipleship looked like back then. We should grant that it is not always easy to transfer the look of discipleship across the centuries and spell out all the details of what it should and should not look like now. However, I think statements like the above can both confuse and condemn when neither are the tasks of the preacher or writer.
A pastor friend of mine sent me the following words that I think speak to this kind of thinking. Here’s what he said in response to renouncing everything:
“In going through Matthew, it is interesting that while Peter and Andrew left their nets, Peter did not leave his home or his extended family. Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law at Peter’s house in Matt. 8. While there were times that Peter was away from home, he went back home. Also, after the resurrection, Peter and the others were fishing. Jesus didn’t yell at them for not “renouncing all” — He told them where to catch more fish.” ~ jpb
I think these are more sober and sane observations. Believers are to be faithful in their particular spheres of calling. This means that if you are a plumber, you are to work hard, be honest, witness when opportunity arises, love your wife and children (if you have them), love your neighbor, help others in need, read your Bible, pray, and go to church where you are a member every Lord’s Day to hear the Bible preached and read, pray and sing, and take the soul-nourishing Supper of the Lord Jesus.
Jesus told the disciples where to catch more fish. Now that’s radical.Richard Barcellos Grace Reformed Baptist Church Palmdale, CA www.grbcav.org .