In Matthew 28, Jesus says to his followers: “make disciples of allnations…teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you.”

What makes a disciple? And what commands do disciples observe

In Luke 14 great crowds were following Jesus – what leader wouldn’t want that! –but Jesus tells them that no one can be his disciple who does not bear his own cross, hate his family members, and even hate his own life. Then, after giving illustrations of counting the cost, Jesus says, “Every one of you who does not say good-bye to all his possessions cannot be my disciple.”

Yes, that is a heavy thought. And just how should this be applied? 

At the very least, Jesus means that being a true disciple is not a casual sideline. Jesus calls us to seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and trust God to provide for our needs as he provides for the birds and flowers.

I’ve felt a tension over these things my entire Christian life. To follow Christ, am I willing to put following Him above my career, my income, my reputation, and my family? Do I believe that God loves me and will provide what’s best for me? As uncomfortable as that tension is, I think it’s necessary. 

When I have been afraid to tell students or colleagues about my faith, it was knowing those truths – that a disciple of Christ obeys his call to make personal sacrifices and that God loves me and will provide what’s best – that helped me take those steps of faith and see God’s blessings from them.

Over thirty years ago, I first shared with my classes that I was a follower of Jesus. I was apprehensive, but the overwhelming response from my students was how much it encouraged them.

I was fearful again just a few years ago when I was invited to share my testimony in a university-wide forum, with ads announcing the event in the student newspaper. Not only did no one complain or cancel me, but it introduced me to more believing faculty members who shared how that blessed them.

Faculty Commons at Miami University now provides a gift bag to all new faculty here that includes a welcome letter, signed by another professor and myself, inviting them to reach out to us if they would like any help or opportunities for fellowship. The outcome has been even more faculty engaged in Gospel outreach and living faithfully!

True, these steps of faith ended positively, and I know there is no guarantee of this.  Some have had less favorable results. 

But I also know every step of obedience taken for the sake of Jesus is worth it, no matter the earthly outcome. 

Jesus describes the Kingdom of Heaven as a treasure hidden in a field and as a pearl of great worth (Matt 13). The people who find the hidden treasure and the pearl sell everything they have in order to buy those treasures. The cost of discipleship – the finite value of all I am and have – is negligible compared to the infinite treasure of Christ and his kingdom.

As missionary martyr Jim Elliot said, “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”


Tim Cameron

Mechanical Engineering

Miami University

O31115 Tim Cameron