If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life?We can approach our faith as if it is all about self actualization—helping you to be the best you that you can be. Or we can approach faith as something to meet our needs and see ourselves as consumers of church and so seek out a church that meets our needs. There are many similar ways we can approach our faith. But Jesus challenges those who would follow him to die to themselves in order to live to God. As Daniel Berrigan put it, "If you want to follow Jesus, you better look good on wood."
Jesus' words also come with the warning that whatever you profit in this life, even if it gains you the whole world, will not gain you anything in the next unless it is of God. For Jesus, the path to life is death. And if that wasn't clear, he lived out this teaching on Good Friday and then Easter.
Jesus does not call you anywhere he was not first willing to go, nor to anyplace he will not go with you now. But make no mistake that Jesus' call is a radical demand to place your relationship with him first no matter the costs.
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal Church