In The Midst Of It All
As reports come of yet another war, my heart is very heavy. Everywhere I see death and destruction. I hear words of lies and cowardice. I sense fear and hopelessness. Yet in the midst of it all…incredible courage, determination, and hope remain.
But how can so few people with such limited resources defend their homeland against ruthless invasion? Their enemies are massive; their friends, distant and weak. Yet in the midst of it all…they stand, committed to their leader and each other.
For years I studied international political behavior, and I learned something. People will say anything. Words have little lasting significance, promises even less. And wars are more about selfish interests than honor. Yet in the midst of it all…Jesus speaks.
What are you willing to give up for peace?
On His way to Jerusalem, Jesus said, Before a king goes to war against another, he will determine if his smaller army can defeat the much larger one coming against him. If he cannot, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and ask for terms of peace. 1
Then the focus shifted. In the same way, if you do not give up everything, you cannot be my disciple. 2 What does that have to do with war? Everything…for those who follow Jesus.
Sometimes a king must give up everything that is important to him to protect the lives of his people. His title and authority. His power and prestige. The ability to choose His own path, to live where he wants and do as he pleases. Going from great wealth to abject poverty, from ruler to servant.
At times in our lives we all want to be king.
But kings were not known for such behavior. They wanted it all…titles, authority, power, prestige, and wealth. They wanted to rule their own lives and those of others. Their people suffered. Yet in the midst of it all…many who claimed to follow Jesus wanted the same.
Jesus wasn’t really talking about war. He was explaining what is required to follow Him, that is, to be His disciple. It’s simple: Jesus must come first above all that we have and all that we are. We must stop clinging to things and cling to Him. Yet in the midst of it all…we often fail.
Each of us struggles with this at times. Following Him and being a servant to others is hard. Even He said we would find trouble. 3 Yet in the midst of it all…there is only one true King, and His name is Jesus.
Chuck Graham is Founder and Executive Director of Ciloa, an international ministry devoted to encouraging others and teaching them how to encourage one another. He is also an author and speaker. Chuck and his wife, Beverly, live in Lawrenceville, Georgia, USA. Learn more about Chuck and Ciloa at www.Ciloa.org.
Footnotes: (1) A paraphrase, read Luke 14:31-32. (2) A paraphrase, read Luke 14:33. (3) Read Mark 4:17; John 16:33.
Pictures: Banner: Ukraine Tensions by Emilio Morenatti, AP Photo. 1st: Taking a Stand by Emilio Morenatti, AP Photo. 2nd: Count The Cost, GotQuestions.org. 3rd: Revelation 19:16, gallery of artofit.org.