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Thursday, September 05, 2019

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I, for one, don't set out to build many towers, but I have been thinking about farming, and I know that with it come buckets of calculations -- land prices, equipment prices, wholesale prices, etc. Counting the costs gets overwhelming, just as Jesus suggests: "father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself." There's a key difference between the two examples, though. Starting a farm is starting a new life. Jesus calls all his disciples to take up their cross. And it bears repeating: the cross is not simply a metaphor for burdens or troubles; it is a Roman instrument of death. Jesus doesn't just call his disciples to leave their old life behind; he calls them to leave life behind. That's shocking! But if we stop to think about it, we all leave life behind eventually. The question is simply whether we will leave life behind by walking in the way of Jesus.

God who holds our past, present, and future, give us the peace to know that this life is temporary. Help us not to grasp onto transient things but, as Jesus commands, to take up our cross and follow you. Amen.

Kristofer Coffman, '16
Graduate Fellow in Classical and Near Eastern Studies
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis

Luke 14:25-33 (NRSV)

25 Now large crowds were traveling with [Jesus]; and he turned and said to them,
26 "Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple.
27 Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it?
29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him,
30 saying, 'This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.'
31 Or what king, going out to wage war against another king, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand?
32 If he cannot, then, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for the terms of peace.
33 So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions."

This God Pause daily devotion is brought to you by the alumni of Luther Seminary.