Tuesday, September 29

A Championship Life

Scripture: Zechariah 7-9, Luke 13

Luke 13:23–24 23 Someone asked him, “Lord, will only a few be saved?” He replied, 24 “Work hard to enter the narrow door to God’s Kingdom, for many will try to enter but will fail.”

Observation

Jesus was asked if only a few would be saved.  This was a common question in Jesus’ day, one that would often be asked of a rabbi.  Some thought only a few, others thought many.  

But Jesus also shifted the question from “how many” to “who?”  Most Jews were united in believing that only Jews would be in the Kingdom—no Gentiles allowed.  Jesus dispels the notion that the Kingdom is for Jews only.  His answer—that people from all over the world would take their places in the Kingdom of God—must have shocked his hearers.  And it’s good news for us!

Jesus also said that it would be those who “worked hard” (or “made every effort” NIV) to enter the narrow door who would be saved.  The Greek word for “work hard” is agonizomai; we get the English words “agony” and “agonize” from it.  It was used of engaging in an athletic contest; then, to fight or struggle.  We might say, “give it your all” or “leave it all on the court,” or “give 110%!”

Following Jesus isn’t easy.  It’s not a cake walk—it’s a championship season, with all the training, effort, sacrifice and hard work it takes to win it all.  This doesn’t eliminate grace.  It’s grace that motivates us and empowers us.  But too many of us believe in what Bonhoeffer called “cheap grace.”  He said that Christ calls us to come and die, that discipleship is sacrifice and hard work.  It’s making ever effort, straining every nerve, leaving it all on the court to win it all.

 

Application

How seriously do I take my relationship with Jesus?  Am I making every effort, giving my all to follow Him?  Or am I coasting?  You don’t win championships by coasting.  And you don’t follow Jesus casually.  It’s all in! 

I want to live that way, and I need to remind others that Jesus calls us to a championship life—all in!

Prayer: Lord, I don’t want to be a coaster; I want to be a champion for You.  Help me today to “make every effort” to follow You well.