Large crowds were walking along with Jesus, when he turned and said: “You cannot be my disciple, unless you love me more than you love your father and mother, your wife and children, and your brothers and sisters. You cannot come with me unless you love me more than you love your own life. You cannot be my disciple unless you carry your own cross and come with me. Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. What is the first thing you will do? Won’t you sit down and figure out how much it will cost and if you have enough money to pay for it? Otherwise, you will start building the tower, but not be able to finish. Then everyone who sees what is happening will laugh at you. They will say, ‘You started building, but could not finish the job.’
What will a king do if he has only ten thousand soldiers to defend himself against a king who is about to attack him with twenty thousand soldiers? Before he goes out to battle, won’t he first sit down and decide if he can win? If he thinks he won’t be able to defend himself, he will send messengers and ask for peace while the other king is still a long way off. So then, you cannot be my disciple unless you give away everything you own.”- Luke 14:25-33
Teenage culture is fascinating.
Back in the day, all it took to be “going out” with someone was a few phone calls and walks in the halls between classes. A couple of months later, you broke up. Beautiful. Of course, that was the average. There were longer relationships and plenty that were shorter. I “went with” Danny McGrath for 60 seconds in the 4th grade, exactly. We watched the clock in homeroom and everything. Don’t worry, Danny and I worked through our differences and parted on good terms. We’re Facebook friends and everything.
Regardless of how long a relationship lasted, the process was the same – commit or uncommit, simple. (And relax, grammar addicts, I know it’s not a word. I like it anyways:)
Now it’s a lot more complicated. Before you’re officially “in a relationship,” you’re “talking.” As far as I can tell, “talking” means texting each other all day and night and walking together from class to class. It’s the stage where people wonder, “Are they together?” Nope, they’re just talkin’.
I’m told that, now, there is even a stage that comes before talking. It’s called, “the stage that comes before talking.” If you’re confused, older generations, don’t worry. You’re not alone. It’s dizzying, really.
I blame it all on Facebook. Well, Facebook and texting. Since it is possible to be texting 10 members of the opposite sex and chatting online with 4 more all at one time, you can probably see why the talking and pre-talking stages have developed. If you’re just pre-talking, well you can go ahead and text all the girls you want, Fonzie. Still, even this mode of operation can be precarious, since some especially eager relationship-seekers think texting = talking. Trust me, girls. To a boy, this idea is ridiculous. Now, if you have passed from pre-talking to the slightly more official “talking” stage with someone, and are still texting 10 members of the opposite sex and chatting with 4 more, well, good luck with that. You’re probably looking at a relationship that will last about as long as the one I had with Danny McGrath.
No wonder would-be-daters are taking longer to commit (even if for just 2 months) to full-fledged relationships. Information flies fast and everybody knows everybody’s business. Essentially, a changed relationship status on Facebook means that everyone else is watching closely, and they have the freedom to comment, “like”, or “*dislike” your every move.
That whole “talking” thing, though somewhat confusing, is okay for teenagers as they consider dating possibilities. The problem is that a lot of us treat God the same way. For awhile, it looks like we’re in a relationship with Him, but when a more fun or attractive opportunity comes along…turns out we were just talking.
Jesus knew that about us. That’s why when He had crowds of people following Him, He stopped, turned around, and told them that real relationship with Him involves a bigger commitment than most of them were willing to make.
Real love for God isn’t something that can be made true just because I claim it on my info page. Real relationship with Jesus isn’t something you jump in and out of depending on the circumstance. It is a forever-in-all-things commitment, and we are worldwide fools if we don’t count the cost.