Luke 14:33 In the same way, therefore, every one of you who does not say good-bye to all his possessions cannot be My disciple.
Have you ever bought something in part? It’s called lay-away. In the 80’s ad 90’s, layaway was the craze. Consider for a moment what happens at the transaction counter. You’ve shopped and made a decision on what you want. You pull the item off the shelf and take it to a check-out counter. The clerk rings up 10% of the cost which you gladly shell out. The clerk takes the item, puts your name on it and shelves it on the counter behind her. You leave the store with nothing in your hands and a little less in your pocket.
Sadly, some might say, “That sounds like church.”
Strangely, in some ways, it does describe much of the church in America today. A hired clerk from the pulpit makes a deal with the shoppers. If they’ll put up 10%, they can put heaven on layaway. Every Sunday becomes a “check on investment” day where people come and sit to listen about their layaway item they hope to see someday. Some contribute a little bit more toward it and then they leave with nothing in their hands. Why? Because they haven’t paid in full.
What’s Christ wanting here? At face value, the verse seems crystal clear. He wants us to give up all our own possessions. Some versions read “renounce all possessions.”
If you want to follow Him, you have to give up everything.
“Might as well die.”
“I can’t do that.”
“Because I can’t let go of this and I can’t quit that and I don’t know how to give up everything.”
“You’ve got it all wrong. The transaction Christ calls us to is an instant one. It occurs at the moment you fully, wholly let go… of everything; Yes, when you die.”
Jesus starts this lesson out a few verses earlier letting all know that to follow Him requires us to deny ourselves and take up our cross. That’s death.
Celebrate that the point of death is an instant in time. Growth is a process, but death is an instance. It’s not about a process of letting go or a process of getting free. It’s about dying at the transaction counter where your new life awaits. It’s really that simple. Die and get a new one.
Jesus wants you and I to have the Kingdom of Heaven today. He doesn’t want us to wait for new life on the other side of the grave. He wants us to have it now. That’s gracious. But what gives?
We’d rather put it on layaway.
There’s a real conundrum here. Many believe that when they die, they will have paid enough into the layaway plan to receive the product. But the very thing that was required for the product in full was the very thing you wouldn’t let go of and if you’re dead, it’s the very thing you no longer have.
You have what it takes to swap. Forget layaway. Give your old life for the new one now.