Two Would Be Disciples and Me
How could the scribe be so prompt in hurrying to attach himself to Christ's company, unless he had taken no thought whatever for the hard and unpleasant conditions of His companions? We realize that he was a scribe, a man accustomed to a quiet and easy existence, treated with respect, who would be no match for hard words or hard times, for persecution, or the cross. He wishes to follow Christ, but he imagines to himself a soft and pleasant path, lodging with all the good things provided -- while Christ's road is a thorny one for His disciples; it leads through endless pains to a cross. So the greater his haste, the less his preparedness. He is exactly like the man who fancies a battle in cool and attractive settings, no sweat, no dust, and beyond the range of the artillery. There is no wonder that such men are rejected by Christ; wildly the rush in, and they are the first to break under any emergency, at the first test they faint and draw back their foot, shamefully deserting their post. John Calvin
It would be well for the Churches of Christ if these sayings of our Lord were more remembered than they are. It may be feared that the lesson they contain is too often overlooked by the ministers of the Gospel, and that thousands are admitted to full communion who are never warned to "count the cost." Nothing, in fact, has done more harm to Christianity than the practice of filling the ranks of Christ's army with every volunteer who is willing to make a little profession, and to talk fluently of his "experience." It has been painfully forgotten that numbers alone do not make strength, and that there may be a great quantity of mere outward religion, while there is very little real grace. Let us remember this. Let is keep back nothing from young professors and inquirers after Christ: let us not enlist them on false pretences. Let us tell them plainly that there is a crown of glory at the end; but let us tell them no less plainly, that there is a daily cross in the way. J.C. Ryle
Am I a soldier of the cross, a follower of the Lamb,
And shall I fear to own His cause, or blush to speak His name?
Must I be carried to the skies on flowery beds of ease,
While others fought to win the prize, and sailed through bloody seas?
Are there no foes for me to face? Must I not stem the flood?
Is this vile world a friend to grace, to help me onto God?
Sure I must fight if I would reign: Increase my courage, Lord;
I'll bear the toil, endure the pain, Supported by Thy Word.
Thy saints in all this glorious war, shall conquer, though they die;
They view the triumph from afar, and seize it with their eye.
When that illustrious day shall rise, and all thine armies shine
In robes of victory through the skies, The glory shall be Thine.
Isaac Watts, 1724