Spirit-filled People celebrate surrender

Posted by Fr. Tere on 09/04/2016

Luke 14:25-33  

DNA twistThis word, surrender, represents strongly how upside-down is true Christianity. In the world there is no place for surrender. In this country especially there is no room for surrender. If you even suggest surrender or submission, you are labeled as yellow or a sissy or a wuss, or worse.

The dictionary meaning is “cease resistance to an enemy or opponent and submit to their authority.” And the synonyms include capitulate, renounce, give in, give (oneself) up, give way, yield, concede (defeat), submit, climb down, back down, cave in, relent, crumble; lay down one's arms, raise the white flag, throw in the towel.”

It can also mean resignation, despair, renunciation, submission. Don’t those words make you want to give up? Yet Jesus says, “… any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.”

Jesus, in this passage, does not even ask nicely, or say that we should work on it, or try to get to that point, or … he tells us that if we do not surrender all that we cannot be his disciple.

Bonhoeffer quoteAll to Jesus I surrender, all to him I freely give;

I will ever love and trust him, in his presence daily live.

Refrain: I surrender all, I surrender all; all to thee,

my blessed savior, I surrender all.

All to Jesus I surrender, humbly at his feet I bow;

worldly pleasures all forsaken, take me, Jesus, take me now.

All to Jesus I surrender, make me, savior, wholly thine;

let me feel the holy spirit, truly know that thou art mine.

All to Jesus I surrender, Lord, I give myself to thee;

fill me with thy love and power, let thy blessing fall on me.

All to Jesus I surrender, now I feel the sacred flame;

oh, the joy of full salvation! Glory, glory, to his Name!

These words are from I surrender all, by Judson W. Van DeVenter (1855–1939). They certainly capture the “renounce all you have,” to which Jesus calls us in this passage from Luke.

cross walker

Have you stopped to “count the cost” of following Jesus? Most of us have been on the Way long enough to know there are costs, but have we stopped to count them? On some television show the other day, a woman was trying to decide if the man she was dating was “the one.” Her friend suggested that she make two columns on a piece of paper and put the positives in one column and the negatives in the other – which ever column was the fullest would let her know.

Followers of Jesus are weird, however. We are asked to put the costs of following Jesus in one column and the costs of following the world in the other column. The ‘World’ column only needs one item, doesn’t it? The first item we should put there is eternal separation from God or eternal damnation. Do you need any other reasons to follow Jesus? On the ‘Jesus’ side, we may find family fights, social non-acceptance, loss of prestige, and, in some places in the world, loss of livelihood, homes or church buildings, jail, torture, beheading, death. But the last item on that page makes it all worthwhile: eternally in the presence of God or eternal salvation.

Even if we never actually suffer from our decision to follow Jesus, we are called to be ready to suffer, ready to welcome any suffering because he asks it of us. And he does demand that readiness in today’s reading – if “… you do not surrender all you have you cannot be my disciple.”

Cost ofo discipleship



Do we surrender all?

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