Friday, February 7, 2014

The Cost of Faithfulness

Luke 14:25-33 Now great crowds accompanied [Jesus], and he turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 
saying, 'This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple."

In his recent blog article, a Missouri Synod pastor, the Rev. Michael Schuermann writes:
[Thrivent has recently] ruled any organization that is in some way connected to abortion (both pro-abortion and pro-life) ineligible to receive any Thrivent money. To see the effect of this, let’s consider the year 2011, which is the most recent year where all of Thrivent’s financial records are public:
◾Thrivent has defunded pro-abortion organizations (who are doing decidedly non-Christian work) to the tune of $1,373. This is good.
◾Thrivent has defunded pro-life organizations, who have been doing the mercy work that is indisputably good and expected of every Christian, to the tune of $878,569.
For Lutherans of the LC-MS to say and do nothing about the fraternal organization that funds so many of our projects when they also fund something that is clearly contrary to the Christian life and an abomination unto the Lord, is simply not an option.

However, as the Word of the Lord tells us, there is a cost to faithfulness.

Here is a good, real life illustration of that. The question for us, however, goes far beyond Thrivent. Are we willing to become "poorer" for following our Lord by actually living the confession of our faith to which we have subscribed?

Or, like the rich young ruler of Luke 18:18-30, have we reached the point where we sadly keep going our own way because we simply have too much to lose?

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