On a trip to Central Asia, I met a wonderful man who had been born and raised in Afghanistan. His story captivated me. From a practicing Muslim family, he had discovered the claims of Jesus while in university in the Middle East. He made the incredibly difficult decision to follow Jesus. He married a Christian woman and his 30+ year journey with Jesus had taken him to Afghanistan, North America, the Middle East and Central Asia. I asked him, "What does your family think of your choice to follow Jesus"? His answer startled me. "I don't know. I never saw my family again. I could not risk their lives or mine. So I never went back".
I had just been reading and struggling over Jesus' words in Luke 14:26-27, "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters — yes, even his own life — he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple." Suddenly these words of Jesus became clear to me through the life of this wonderful, gentle, Afghani man. He made a difficult choice — loyalty to family or following Jesus.
The risks. . . the choices are difficult. In a recent meeting, a member of my church stated his observation that in the "old days" following Jesus often involved great risk, even death. However, today those who claim to follow Jesus won't even risk their retirement savings for Jesus.
What are we willing to risk to follow Jesus? The choices can be hard — family, possessions, future security. Let us remember the hard sayings of Jesus as we choose.
Sharing the journey with you,