The Impossible Calling

Some things Jesus said make following Him sound impossible. I understand it, for the most part, but don’t see how I can meet the standard. Most religions give a code of conduct, or a place to visit, or some chant or posture, and you’re in.

But Jesus asks too much! Like in this passage – Turn from selfish way I get; I can’t do it, but I get it. Then … die. Take up  a cross, and die. After all, that’s what a cross is for.

In case this isn’t clear enough, he says it another way: give up your life. That’s die, again, right?

Don’t get too discourage. It helps to read on a few verses. The upside down logic is a call to be a “living sacrifice.” To die is defined like this: live for Him, live for others, and value following Jesus above stuff that takes His place as Leader. Consider yourself dead to what takes His place in your life. And it only takes a couple of seconds to identify what this is, right?

Islam has the sacrificial death of suicide bombers. Daoism has seppuku, the ritual disembowelment because of shame. Buddhism has self-immolation. And Hindu widows throw themselves on their husbands’ funeral pyre in sati ritual.

These “calls to die” lead to death. Whether it’s to get reward in the afterlife, cover shame, protest a hopeless situation, or avoid grief, the death religions call for is self-seeking and self-attentive.

Jesus’ “call to die” leads to life, and life to the fullest measure. He offers, through His life, death, and resurrection hope for the hopeless, mercy for the shamed, comfort for the grieving, and real life for those facing or contemplating death.

He calls us to live as long and as passionately as possible,  as His own sacrificing followers, impacting our world with Hope.

Put Him first. Live to serve others. Leverage life in ways that point to His offer of life over grief, shame, self-consumption, and hopelessness.

It’s better by far to know Him, gain our soul, and give up on hanging onto life without Him.

Hanging on to Him,



  1. Bob Domian said,

    16/11/2013 at 8:31 am

    Good “upside Down Kingdom” stuff Rick. I believe this ” death ” is about Freedom. Christ came to set us free, freedom from the fear of death, freedom from our being ruled by the brokenness we are born into, our very sin nature. These other religions intuitively recognize there fallen state and these are measures attempting to escape the pain and bondage. Jesus took the suffering for us and came to give us a more”abundant ” life . What a Savior!

  2. appuntivita said,

    14/11/2013 at 10:03 am

    Hi Taylor,

    Thanks for the comments. Live long to impact the world, get better at worshiping God, and enjoy the gifts God gives us in each other – that would be the reason behind my comments. I will correct the spelling of seppuku (Confucianism, Buddhist and Daoist roots.)

    Blessings in your journey (btw, where did you land in school? Did you finish the last degree?),

  3. tayreed said,

    13/11/2013 at 1:29 pm

    Although I don’t know about being called to live as long as possible (I tend to identify with John Howard Yoder’s thoughts on the subject), I like these reminders, Rick. Thank you.

    I am curious about “seppuka” (seppuko?) and it’s ties to Daoism. I’m not finding connections between the ritual and modern or traditional Daoist ideology.Thanks!

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