Weekly Devotion & Prayer- September 19, 2022

"Not A Cheap Mission"

Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him, saying, 'This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.' (Luke 14:26-30).

I had the opportunity to meet with my fellow Hmong clergy this past July at a pastor retreat. I was asked to share a vision for the future of The Hmong United Methodist Church, especially because we’ve been stirred up with confusion and misinformation related to the issue of human sexuality and the postponement of the General Conference to 2024. As I prayed for a message, God revealed to me this scripture which was the Gospel reading from yesterday's lectionary. The retreat theme was “Stronger Together.”  I told my clergy fellows, the Hmong church will have a limited future unless we are prepared to make a sacrifice and a commitment to be united, becoming one, both clergy and congregations.
In order to bring change to build stability and growth, a vision of stronger together, our Hmong United Methodist Churches and ministries, clergy and lay, must be willing to give up something of value for the sake of the whole, not of our own survival but the mission of God. We will have a future and will be stronger when we are united for the mission of God.
The mission of God or the means to accomplish it is not cheap. It requires the giving away of something valuable to us. The notion of “hate” and “carry the cross” calls for a sacrifice, leaving behind our families, friends and loved ones, possessions, even our own pride or self-righteousness. God sent his son. Jesus gave his life. What valuable possession can we give away for the sake of the mission? The notion “follow me” carries the meaning of commitment and priority. How committed are you... in your prayer, presence, gift, service and witness for the mission? The notion of “cost” denotes our resources (time, talent and treasure). The notion of “sit down and estimate” and “complete” denotes careful planning. God’s mission is not something to take lightly.

God has given us the mission, the work of the kingdom, to bring it to fulfillment. What plan, commitment and cost are you willing to put in? The Gospel account here informs us that God expects fruitfulness, success, and not failure. I want to thank you for the hard work you put in for God’s mission in this challenging time. May God give you courage and commitment to move forward as one (in unity and ministry) so we can be stronger together and bear more fruit for the kingdom. Amen.