The Treasure and the Pearl

Discipleship is at the heart of the Christian Gospel.  As God sets out to re-create the world, the discipleship project is the means to that end. But there is a cost to discipleship-and failing to take into account the costs, can lead to discouragement and ultimately failure.

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This Week's Texts: Luke 14.25-33,Matthew 13.44-46

Additional Texts: N/A

For Further Study: The Cost of Discipleship, Dietrich Bonhoeffer; Mere Discipleship, Lee C. Camp; The Divine Conspiracy, Dallas Willard

Teaching Link: "The Treasure and the Pearl" November 20, 2011

Downloadable, printable file: .pdf

Questions for Groups or Reflection:

1. What difference does it make when something has a high price?  When it costs nothing?

Discuss some things in your life that have come at great personal sacrifice?  How do you feel about them?  What emotions do you associate with them?

2.  When Jesus says to the crowds, “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,” (Luke 14.26)  what do you think he means?  Is he serious?  Is this meant to be taken literally?  If not, why not?

For Jesus, the cost of obedience was the cross.  Jesus invites his followers to “carry the cross.” (Luke 14.27)  What does it mean to “carry the cross?”

3.  Jesus uses the example of a builder and a king to demonstrate the importance of counting the cost of being a disciple.  He then mentions possesions (Luke 14.27-33).  Is discipleship just a matter of wealth and possesions?  How does that speak to us in our materialistic culture?

4.  In the Matthew passage, Jesus contrasts a pearl merchant and a man who found a treasure hidden in a field (Matthew 13.44-46.) What is the difference between the two?  Who made the better choice?

What percentage of North American Christians do you think have actually counted the cost of discipleship?

What is the danger of entering into the discipleship project without fully anticipating the cost?

Where are you in the process of following Jesus?