Red Fox“I want to be your disciple,” the man said to Jesus. “I’ll follow you anywhere.”

Many people would have been flattered by such an offer. A politician might have said, “Let me put you on my campaign team.” A teacher might have said, “Let me enroll you in my class.” A movie star might have said, “You can head up my fan group.”

Jesus wasn’t fooled or flattered by the man’s offer. His definition of discipleship was far different than the wannabe follower. “Foxes have better accommodations than I do,” was Jesus’ reply. He was actually inviting the man to reconsider his offer of discipleship.

A church in Arizona went through a similar period of soul searching. In 2002 the church had 12,000 members and filled a sprawling 187-acre campus. The church was known as a place where people could enjoy worship experiences that were fun and had high production values.

But the pastor who had built this successful church had second thoughts and told the megachurch that it was little more than “a dispenser of religious goods and services.” People hadn’t been asked to make sacrifices, or involve themselves with their neighbor’s needs or trials, nor did they welcome challenges to grow and mature. A third of the membership left as a result of the pastor’s honesty.

Discipleship is easy to sell when it’s marketed as convenient and prosperous. Jesus knew this and warned his possible follower that he needed to read the fine print. People that sign up for the food courts and high production values don’t make good disciples.

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