This poem is written for pastors,  youth leaders, teachers and parents. It is written to anyone who has ever poured freely into someone’s life, only to come face to face with rejection either of yourself, or of the truths you have tried to instill. Rejection of truth takes on many forms, addiction, divorce, unfaithfulness, suicide. Many of us carry emotional scars from discipling relationships that have met with one or more of these tragedies.

Discipleship Costs
Lowest lows, I’m told there’s highs
A lonely painful road
Discipled by the cross

Josh Cushman

I used to wonder why pastors are statistically so lonely, but I don’t wonder any more. Walking with people and discipling them in the way of Jesus leaves us emotionally exposed. We pour into relationships freely, naively expecting that the road to wholeness always leads to mountaintops. The valley often catches us completely unaware. When a life or marriage ends, we blame ourselves. Because we love, because we have walked alongside, we assume that at some level, failure is our fault. These are the times when the price tag of discipleship is revealed.

The temptation in the valleys is to guard ourselves. Part of us, perhaps all of us, just wants to spend our days fishing and forget all the brokenness and rejection ever happened. Our relationships become distant, and that is just the way we like them. However common this scenario may be, it is not God’s heart for us. We were designed for relationship. For relationship with God and for relationship with people. Deep relationships, discipling relationships require that we invest, not just time, and energy, but emotionally and spiritually as well. We must continue through the valley to the foot of the Cross. At the foot of the Cross, looking at Jesus, rejected, we are faced with the cost of discipleship.

It is only with this revelation behind us that we can truly follow Jesus on the road of discipleship. Every time we invest in a relationship, we do so knowing that we could end up facing crucifixion. We don’t know if the person God has led us to is a Judas, a Peter or a John, but we can know that God has brought them to us. We know that he has loved them just as he has loved us and we are called to freely pour into their lives.

In this we must learn something as well. We are weak. We are not called to make disciples of ourselves, we are called to make disciples of Jesus. As we invest into relationship, we are never to feel a disciple belongs to us. We have come alongside, we are walking with them, but just like us, they belong to Jesus. We are to pray for them, and to regularly give them into God’s hands. We are to be faithful with whatever responsibility God may give us. In the end, they are not our disciples, they are His. Whether they turn out to be a Judas, a Peter or a John, if we have been faithful in the responsibilities that God has given us, their failures, or their victories for that matter, do not belong to us. They have their own relationship with Jesus and are accountable to Him.

Follow the way of the Cross. Live on the edge, praying for revival while exposed to death. In discipling we are privileged. Privileged to be discipled by the Cross.

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