The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been headline news this week after their decision to step back from being frontline royals. It’s hard to imagine just how hard it must be to live life in the fish bowl of media scrutiny, where everything you wear and say and do (or not do) is analysed to the Nth degree. One might have thought that the fame inherent in being a successful actress might have prepared Meghan for some of this, but it seems that it has all been too much.
Our passage on Sunday morning is on a similar theme. A large crowd had surrounded Jesus when 2 people stepped forward to pledge their full allegiance to him. At least that’s what it seemed. But instead of welcoming them on board with warm words of encouragement, Jesus reminded them that being his disciple would be costly. It might have seemed like a life of glory, crowds and miracles, but following Jesus means inconvenience and sacrifice; placing him and his agenda above all other loyalties. It’s a call to deny ourselves and take up our cross.
Every decision has consequences. Every promise brings obligations. Every contract has small print. Sometimes we don’t bother reading them and get a nasty surprise later on. Sometimes we read them but don’t fully understand what it will mean. But as we’ll see, Jesus is upfront with the cost of following him.
Perhaps Meghan and Harry didn’t realise what life would be like for a member of the Royal family to marry a Canadian actress. They do now and they don’t like it. So the obligations to serve the crown and the people are to be put to one side. It’s a sad abdication of duty, even if we might think it’s an understandable one.
So let’s be under no illusions about what following Jesus means, and let’s count the cost before we embark on another year of discipleship. But let’s also keep in mind the glory that awaits us in God’s eternal kingdom, and the hell we are saved from when we come to Jesus. Whatever the cost or inconvenience, Jesus is our only hope, the only saviour; and we are not fools if we give up all else to follow him.