Now large crowds were traveling with him; and he turned and said to them, “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it?
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The crowds traveling with Jesus had the benefit of anonimity. A person could ride the wave of Jesus' celebrity, enjoy the generosity and hospitality of meals shared with the entourage along the way, and hide in the safety of numbers without making any significant investment or even committment. It is certainly wise advice to hold back, to resist putting all of one's eggs in one basket, to weigh all the option and especially, have an exit plan. The ones who step out from the protection of the crowds, from the security of family, from the vortex of self-serving ambitions see more clearly what Jesus could see: a world filled not with crowds but individuals desparate to live, shackled with guilt, fear and injustice, standing just a cross away from a life of splendid grace.
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Holy God, give us the courage to commit. Amen.