Do You Make Commitments Without Strings?

Starting a new year seems like a good time to reflect on my commitments.

Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: “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.

“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’” (Luke 14:25-30)

Have you ever thought about the conditional nature of our culture?

Everything has strings attached. The warranty is limited. Marriage comes with pre-nuptial agreements. Check the return policy carefully. Always read the fine print. It’s all about limiting liability and responsibility, setting the terms, and making sure everyone knows where the lines are.

Everything’s conditional.

Then, here’s Jesus with this radical notion: if you want to follow me and be my disciple, you have to be “all-in.”

This passage is frequently misinterpreted because Jesus uses hyperbole to make a point. He’s not instructing us to hate or reject our earthly families, but He is clearly setting priorities. You can’t follow Him provisionally, after other bases are covered. You can’t set aside a limited part of  life for Him, reserving the rest for other important matters.

You’re either all-in or not. No exceptions, exclusions, or limits. No conditions.

No strings attached.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t claim to be all-in.

Even as He staked this radical claim, He also knew I’d never be able to honor it. No matter how hard I try, I always hold something in reserve. I retain a safety net, a piece I want to control. Even if I want to, I’ll never be 100% all-in.

Sometimes I’m not sure what to make of a situation in which the mark is set impossibly high. I’m tempted to simply give up. If I can’t possibly do what He requires, what’s the use in even trying?

Then I remember grace. God’s standards never change, and if I had to reach them on my own I’d be doomed. But Jesus stepped into my place, did what I never could, and bridged the gap for me. Because He was all-in, my failure and weakness are covered.

In Christ, I’m all-in.

My friend Dick Foth stated it beautifully. When he was asked to explain Christianity in non-church terms, he replied:

Jesus left His place, and came to our place.
He took our place, so He could take us to His place.

Jesus didn’t attach any strings. He gave it all…for you and me.

I want to be all-in. How about you?

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Copyright 2008-2013 by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.

Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:

Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com

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