Luke 14:33 “Simply put, if you’re not willing to take what is dearest to you, whether plans or people, and kiss it good-bye, you can’t be my disciple.” (The Message Bible)
Every so often there appears in the news a story of some group of people who left their homes, sold their property and formed a community under the guidance of some charismatic leader. We usually only hear of them when they have come to a bad end like the Jonestown folks back in the 1970’s. If a TV series runs long enough one of the standard plot lines is for the main characters to encounter such a group whose members are brainwashed and whose leader is a crook. In contrast there have been religious orders throughout the centuries who have inspired others, cared for the poor, educated the young, and done countless works of mercy who began and continued under that same framework, mostly in the Roman Catholic tradition. The line between saintliness and silliness can be thin and blurred. Most of us rarely even consider if God could be calling us to a way of life different from the conventional standards we see around us. But, as this verse attests to, God does in various times and in various ways call individuals to a deeper and different self-understanding marked by new approaches to daily life. We can’t all be Mother Theresas, but we all can read this verse and wonder what it means for us. Will you do that this week?