The story is told about a chicken and a pig walking down the street together. As they walked along, they decided that they would have breakfast. The pig asked, “What shall we have for breakfast?” The chicken replied, “How about ham and eggs?” The pig responded, “That won’t do, because for you ham and eggs requires nothing more than a contribution, but for me, it’s total commitment!”
This little story illustrates how some people view being a disciple of Christ. They like the Lord and they like the idea of a reward in heaven. They may even like the church, but when it comes down to the hard work of living for the Lord, they are happy to make a contribution, but they are not willing to make a total commitment.
The Lord spoke about this attitude in Lk. 14:26, 27. In this place He said, “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be my disciple.”
It is clear in this statement that the Lord’s perspective on discipleship is very different than some people teach. We so often hear preachers speak about accepting Jesus as one’s personal savior, as though the Lord is meekly standing alongside the road, hoping that we’ll take Him in. Such an idea is rebutted from the Lord’s own mouth. It is we who must be accepted by Him in order to be His disciples, and He made no bones about the fact that He expects a lot of those who follow Him.
When the Lord spoke of hating one’s family members in order to be His disciple, He was using an idiom of that time to show what must have priority. That which was of most importance was spoken of as being loved. Everything else was spoken of as being hated. Thus, the Lord intended that He, and the requirements that He established for being a disciple, must be the number one priority in our lives, even above our families. If we are unwilling to make this commitment, then we cannot be His disciples.
This is what total commitment is all about. It means that our Lord and Savior occupies first place in every aspect of our lives. We work at our jobs with Jesus Christ as our first priority. We go to school with Jesus Christ as our first priority. We live with and interact with our neighbors and our community with Jesus Christ as our first priority. In everything we do and say it is clear that being a faithful disciple of the Lord must be the most important part of our lives.
In the Sermon on the Mount the Lord spoke of His disciples as being salt and light in the world (Mt. 5:13, 14). In order to have the influence that salt and light are intended to have we must be different from the world. We cannot simply make a contribution toward being salt and light. We either are salt and light, or we are not. If we are totally committed to the Lord, we will be salt and light, and we will do the good works that will cause others to glorify our Father in heaven.
The Lord’s call for us to be totally committed to Him is not unreasonable, for He was totally committed to God’s eternal plan to save our souls. Our Lord had to make a total commitment to go to the cross, to bear our sins, and to give His life as a ransom for our sins. He made that total commitment for us while we were yet sinners. Thus, it seems only reasonable that we should offer the same total commitment to Him as disciples.