I recently made a quick flight to Denver for a business. As I approached the security checkpoint, I began the undressing. I placed my wallet, keys, phone, sunglasses, tablet, belt, and shoes in the bins. As I stood holding my pants up and trying to get through the checkpoint scan it dawned on me that I had given up all the valuable items simply to get on a plane. I was trusting the security personnel to return all of my items. However, they had the right at this point to keep whatever they wanted and throw away whatever they wanted. Because I wanted to get on the plane, I was required to go through the necessary trust exercise of renouncing all my items, hoping I would get them back. If I did not, what was I to do? Probably grumble a bit but actually do nothing.
This was never more clear standing in the same line in Niamey, Niger. In the US there is a certain element of trust. However, after placing everything I held valuable on the belt, I was uneasy as to whether or not I would get it back! Because I wanted to get on the plane, I was required to go through the necessary trust exercises of renouncing all my items, hoping I would get them back. If I did not, what was I to do? Probably grumble a bit but actually do nothing.
A few months after the birth of our son, my wife and I embarked on the journey to the national convention of our denomination. This is an annual trip we have made for 15 years. On this particular trip, we had never flown with a child of our own. The new version of TSA was in effect and everyone was in that disgruntled mode. My wife had our son in her arms and I had, well, I had everything else! Just as I crossed over the “line” she was “randomly selected” for a private moment. Not thinking anything about it she went to hand our son over the line to me. He was all giggles and reaching out. Security must have thought the child was a danger to national security the way they moved in to disallow the passing of the child. At that moment, security had my wife and my child and I couldn’t even stand there! I was ushered down the Jetway. Those standing around were booing and hissing at the TSA agents. I just knew a riot was going to break out! However, because I wanted to get on the plane, I was required to go through the necessary trust exercises of renouncing all my items, hoping I would get them back.
These three stories help us understand what is recorded by Luke,
So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:33
Every time we wish to fly we renounce, or say goodbye to all we have. It doesn’t mean that we will never see it again. Yet, I must be willing to part with it in order to get on the flight. When you place your faith in Jesus Christ you have entered the terminal. If you want to continue on the journey, you must be willing to say goodbye to all that you have. To become a disciple requires you to go through a necessary trust exercise of renouncing it all, hoping you will get them back. If not, you might grumble a bit, but the journey awaits and you don’t want to miss your flight. You have the choice since one could purchase a ticket for a flight and never board because of an unwillingness to go through security. The Gospel is not just about the moment of faith and salvation. The Gospel is more. The Gospel probes deeper. The point is not to be a convert but a disciple. The point is not to buy tickets, but to get on the flight! The full Gospel not only calls you out on your sin and inability to control or dispense with said sin, but also to an exercise of trust. It is not living in fear. It is living in faith. I trust that if Jesus thought enough of me to die in order to carry away my sin, then he can be trusted with my valuables in life.
Fill my heart with song
Let me sing forever more
You are all I long for
All I worship and I adore
In other words, please be true
In other words
In other words, I, love, you