For this coming Sunday, September 30, the Pathways experience moves into the topic of Restoration and Commitment.

We will begin with an assignment from the last class on “Sin, Truth-Telling and Repentance,” :

  1. When did you recognize sin (personal or systemic) straining their relationships with God, each other and the world?
  2. When did you feel prone to wander from God?
  3. When did God’s goodness bind your wandering heart back to Christ?

Our main scripture focus will be Luke 18: 18-30 . Read it and consider the following:

  1. Which character in this Biblical story do you most identify with? The ruler? The disciples? Jesus? An unnamed character in the crowd? Why?
  2. What does it mean that those who have sacrificed to follow Jesus will “receive many times as much in this age, and in the age to come eternal life”?
  3. In Mark’s telling of this story, Jesus looked at the ruler and loved him. How do we affirm Christ’s love for us even when we lack some aspects of faithfulness?
  4. What might Jesus be inviting us to leave behind so that we may follow him more faithfully? Or, what word of encouragement might Jesus offer us if we have left much to follow him?

Think also on the words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, in the introductory chapter of The Cost of Discipleship:

“Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a [person] must knock. Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a [person their] life, and it is grace because it gives a [person] the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son: ‘ye were bought at a price,’ and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon his Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered him up for us. Costly grace is the Incarnation of God.”

Compare the above with the 17 marks of discipleship according to Menno Simons, from his statement, “True Evangelical Faith:”

1. it dies to flesh and blood
2. it destroys all lusts and forbidden desires
3. it seeks, serves and fears God in its inmost soul
4. it clothes the naked
5. it feeds the hungry
6. it comforts the sorrowful
7. it shelters the destitute
8. it aids and consoles the sad
9. it does good to those who do it harm
10. it serves those that harm it
11. it prays for those who persecute it
12. it teaches, admonishes and judges us with the Word of the Lord
13. it seeks those who are lost
14. it binds up what is wounded
15. it heals the sick
16. it saves what is sound
17. it becomes all things to all people