Just do it!

Submitted by Victoria on Friday, May 16, 2014 - 15:07

A challenge from Bonhoeffer...

At the moment, Yannick and I are reading Dietrich Bonhoeffer's The Cost of Discipleship. It is a fascinating and challenging read. Bonhoeffer was writing at a time when the state Lutheran Church was being moulded into a Nazi Reich Church, and he felt that the radical imperatives of Jesus's teaching were being lost. So this book was a call to say 'Jesus meant what he said! The Sermon on the Mount is actually meant to be put into practice.' Sometimes, he says, 'moral dilemmas' can be ways of simply avoiding what Christ calls us to do.

In one particular part, Bonhoeffer writes about the wealthy man whom Jesus told to sell all his possessions, give to the poor and then follow him. This is just a very short blog not to give you my opinion but rather to share with you part of what I've been reading and to find out what you think:

"If Jesus said to someone: 'Leave all else behind and follow me; resign your profession, quit your family, your people, and the home of your fathers,' then he knew that to this call there was only one answer - the answer of single-minded obedience, and that it is only to this obedience that the promise of fellowship with Jesus is given. But we should probably argue thus: 'Of course we are meant to take the call of Jesus with "absolute seriousness", but after all the true way of obedience would be to continue all the more in our present occupations, to stay with our families, and serve him there in a spirit of true inward detachment.' If Jesus challenged us with the command: 'Get out of it', we should take him to mean: 'Stay where you are, but cultivate that inward detachment.' Again, if he were to say to us: 'Be not anxious,' we should take him to mean: 'Of course it is not wrong for us to be anxious: we must work and provide for ourselves and our dependants. If we did not we should be shirking our responsibilities. But all the time we ought to be inwardly free from all anxiety.' Perhaps Jesus would say to us: 'Whosoever smiteth thee on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.' We should then suppose him to mean: 'The way really to love your enemy is to fight him hard and hit him back.'...If a father sends his child to bed, the boy knows at once what he has to do. But suppose he has picked up a smattering of pseudo-theology. In that case he would argue more or less like this: 'Father tells me to go to bed, but he really means that I am tired, and he does not want me to be tired. I can overcome my tiredness just as well if I go out and play. Therefore though father tells me to go to bed, he really means: "Go out and play."

 

Ouch.  

So, what do you think? Does this ring true for you? Do you think we look for ways out of following Jesus obediently? Do we always know what we are being called to do? This passage has been a big challenge to me, so please do post your thoughts below.

Tags: Dietrich BonhoefferBonhoefferCost of Discipleshipobedience