What are the conditions of discipleship? This is an important question for all Christians to consider, from those who are newly baptized to those who have lived long lives on the Christian journey toward home. Discipleship is not for the faint at heart. It requires something more than mere time, treasure and talent from us. In the end, it is a response of love.
Christians are not dreamers. They know that the world is broken and full of suffering, but they choose not to be defeated by it. Rather, a disciple is one who chooses to enter into it, who willingly chooses to pick up his or her cross to follow in the footsteps of Christ himself. A disciple is one who has found the fullest meaning of his or her life in Christ. He or she willingly chooses to “lose” his or her life in service to the suffering other out of love, for the sake of Christ. He or she does all things in thanksgiving for the love of God that was shown to us in Christ Jesus.
A disciple is one who welcomes others into his or her home, into his or her heart, with genuine hospitality and in doing so, he or she is welcoming Christ. “If anyone gives so much as a cup of water to one of these little ones because he is a disciple, I tell you the truth, he will receive his reward.” A disciple, then, is one whose heart has grown full to overflowing with love for God and for the neighbor. That love cannot be contained; it enters into every thoughts, word, and action of the disciple.
How does one become a disciple? Is it just an idea? If discipleship is nothing more than an idea, it would be truly nothing at all. Discipleship is action. It is the picking up of the crosses of our lives, it is acting on behalf of others in compassion and love.
Lord, we know that you call us to discipleship every day. We also know that we are imperfect and that we sometimes give in to our fears. Sometimes we fall short of our faith. But we know that you will never abandon those who humbly and willingly answer your call. We pray that you continue to call us, that you continue to give us the graceful strength we need to be your good and faithful disciples. Deepen our faith so that we may have the courage to pick up our crosses and follow you. We ask these prayers in your name, Jesus. Amen.
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