Cost of Discipleship



Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. 

Jesus, I belong to you.

I lift up my heart to you.
I set my mind on you.
I fix my eyes on you.
I offer my body to you as a living sacrifice.

Jesus, we belong to you. 

Praying in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, amen. 

1 Chronicles 21:22–24

David said to him, “Let me have the site of your threshing floor so I can build an altar to the Lord, that the plague on the people may be stopped. Sell it to me at the full price.”

Araunah said to David, “Take it! Let my lord the king do whatever pleases him. Look, I will give the oxen for the burnt offerings, the threshing sledges for the wood, and the wheat for the grain offering. I will give all this.”

But King David replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on paying the full price. I will not take for the Lord what is yours or sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing.”


In the corporate world, the phrase “the cost of doing business” is self-explanatory. There is an expected cost associated with leading or owning a business. It may be purchasing a building, paying employees, or buying a new vehicle, but I don’t know many people who jump into a life of discipleship and ask about the cost.

In our altar story this week, we read that “Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census of Israel” (1 Chron. 21:1) instead of trusting in God’s promise to keep Israel secure. As a result, a plague swept through his people and seventy thousand of them died. David knew he had sinned against God and must make restitution. I admit that as I read the many stories of altars built by David and sacrifices offered to God, it was this story that grabbed my heart because when David was offered an easy way out, he refused to take it.

The owner of the threshing floor where David planned to create an altar space was willing to give it to him for free. How many of us would turn down a generous offer like that? The path of least resistance and the pain of least pain. And yet David knew that living a life honoring to the Lord meant taking responsibility for his sin and that asks something of us.

He is right. Living as if following Christ has no cost is like charging a credit card to its limit and then asking the bank to change the balance back to zero. Just as Paul wrote, “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” (Rom. 6:1–2). Don’t get me wrong, discipleship is not a works-based system, but it does require our obedience and devotion.

Christians are fond of celebrating the lavish grace and unfailing compassion of Jesus, but we are sometimes hesitant to discuss the expectations of following Christ. But what a disservice to the Lord, especially this week as we remember that pain that He willingly endured so we could receive that grace. Theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer reminds us that “salvation is free, but discipleship will cost you your life.” What is discipleship costing you right now?


Jesus, thank You for paying the cost of our sin. Search our hearts today and know our anxious thoughts. Stir within us the willingness to be a disciple willing to pay anything in order to share Your grace with others and to be a reflection of Your love. Amen.


Have you ever experienced a time when being a disciple cost you something important in your life? What are you willing to give to follow Jesus?

For the Awakening,
Susan Kent 

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WHAT IS THIS? Wake-Up Call is a daily encouragement to shake off the slumber of our busy lives and turn our eyes toward Jesus. Each morning our community gathers around a Scripture, a reflection, a prayer, and a few short questions, inviting us to reorient our lives around the love of Jesus that transforms our hearts, homes, churches, and cities.

Comments and Discussion

3 Responses

  1. Like Bonhoeffer also wrote in his book, The Cost of Discipleship, “ When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” That’s the basic jest of Jesus’s requirement that, “If anyone wants to follow after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me.” (Luke 9:23) In other words, true discipleship means surrendering our will to His will. This goes against our natural human nature, because we all strive to maintain control, and strongly desire predictable outcomes in our lives. Just this morning during my prayer and meditation time with God , it was revealed to me that this proclivity towards “ doing things the way we’ve always done them” is one of the biggest barriers to a new Kingdom of God expansion movement braking out in the institutionalized church. Change of routine means the death to “business as usual “.

  2. The Loss of Discipleship

    Jesus defines discipleship by saying: ““Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” In our world there seems to be a great absence of the three requirements that Jesus gives for discipleship.

    1) Self-denial. We can’t follow self and Jesus at the same time because they are going in different directions. To be a disciple of Christ we must deny (ignore) our own desires and continually choose His will instead of our own.

    2) Cross-bearing. The cruelty of the cross was the popular means of execution in the Roman Empire. Rather than avoiding pain and suffering, true discipleship requires freely taking it up. Paul described his own discipleship by saying: “I am crucified with Christ,” and “I die daily.”

    3) Obedience to the Holy Spirit, “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Jesus says: “If you love Me, keep my commandments.” Being led moment-by-moment by the Spirit of Christ is essential to discipleship. There’s no other way except to daily follow and obey “the way, the truth, and the life,”–Jesus, the risen Lord and Absolute Master.

  3. The best bargain available is the free gift of salvation through mercy and grace offered by God.
    “Salvation is free, but discipleship will cost you your life.”
    I can’t think of a better way to express the cost of freedom in Christ.
    I might add “time.” We must be willing to be interrupted when the time comes for the benefit of another.
    Time becomes more about others than myself.
    for me, I can say most of the time. Sometimes.
    Which means I am paying the cost of discipleship in payments.
    Will I ever pay it in full?
    Not until, like having a great hand in Texas Hold ’em, we go all in.
    Then we are living in Kairos time, God’s special time.

    Psalm 31:14-15
    But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hand;
    rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors!

    Most of the time, it is myself (flesh) from whom I need to be rescued.

    Galatians 2:20
    I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

    Salvation cost Jesus His life; should we assume it would cost us less?

    Stying 💪’ n Christ
    Ephesians 6:10
    Finally, be strong IN the Lord and IN His mighty power.

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