When You Can’t Afford to Follow Jesus

(Re-posted from squintforgod.com)

Sometimes it’s just not realistic to follow the call of Christ. No matter how much you might believe in the teachings of scripture, you find yourself in a situation where there’s just no wiggle room to head in God’s direction.

I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about the Sermon on the Mount lately, since here at New Life we’ve been preaching through various parts of it during the past months. This weekend we’re concluding the series by looking at Jesus call to choose which we will pursue: treasures on earth or treasures in heaven.

As a preacher I can get pretty stoked up about teachings like that. The prophetic streak in me just loves to feel the thud of the gospel into a lot of our misperceptions about life. I know I often need that myself. But realistically, there are a lot of situations when it’s simply not possible to craft your lifestyle around the lofty teachings of scripture. No matter how much you may want to give God the firstfruits of your paychecks, many of us are carrying burdens that simply make that unreasonable: people living on unemployment or dragging around a credit card debt from earlier struggles or medical expenses that caught them by surprise.

In preparing for this series I asked our Council members and staff members for their (confidential) stories to use in this series. I’ll be sharing edited glimpses from these stories. I’ve got a bunch of them printed on my desk right here. Stories of people tithing on unemployment checks or maintaining their giving levels even as their income dropped. People finding that a divorce gutted their personal finances or a sudden major expense threatened to pull them under. People sensing a clear call from God to take a step in ministry that they “couldn’t afford” only to find that He made sure that they had what they needed.

In each of these cases, God had been calling someone to do something that they simply couldn’t “afford”. Yet in each of these stories God made sure that they could, in fact, afford to follow him.

What about you? When was a time that God called you to do something that you simply couldn’t afford?