By Jon Walker
That was the last thing the young man expected to hear. And so, crestfallen, he walked away. He was holding on tight to a lot of things, and he couldn’t bear to let go. (Matthew 19:22 MSG)
Jesus demands we drop the distractions and become single-minded in our obedience to his commands. In the case of the rich young man, this pulls him away from the romantic fantasy that Christ’s commands are what Bonhoeffer calls a mere “opportunity for moral adventure, a thrilling way of life, but one which might easily be abandoned for another if occasion arose.”
The young man is pulled into the reality of costly grace, where our only hope to enter the kingdom of heaven lies in Jesus Christ, our Lord. Jesus won’t allow him to see eternal life as a distant dream; he insists the young man follow him into that life now. Jesus consistently said, “The kingdom of heaven is upon you.”
Discipleship, Bonhoeffer says, is not the completion of an old life, doing that one final thing you have to do to enter the kingdom, like the capstone of a long and distinguished career ushers you into retirement. Discipleship is about irrevocably leaving your present life behind and entering a new life where Jesus is the center of significance.
It is a life in which Jesus is the only significance.
Bonhoeffer says, “Here is the sum of the commandments—to live in fellowship with Christ.” Jesus must bring us to the place where we abandon anything that holds us to the old life, anything other than Jesus to which we are attached.
The attachments may be different for different people. For the rich young man, the attachment was to his wealth. What are the attachments you have that keep you part-time in your pursuit of Christ?
When Speculation Replaces Faith is a post from: GraceCreates Jon Walker is the author of Costly Grace: A Contemporary View of Bonhoeffer’s ‘The Cost of Discipleship’ and Growing with Purpose. He has served on staff at Saddleback Church and Purpose Driven Ministries and is currently the managing editor of Rick Warren’s Daily Devotionals and the Ministry Toolbox. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. This article is copyrighted 2011 by Jon Walker. Used by permission.