Jesus doesn’t say, “Make converts to your way of thinking.” He says, “Look after my sheep. Make sure they are nourished with knowledge of me.” We think that the work we do in Christian ministry counts as service; Jesus Christ says that service is what we are to him, not only what we do for him. Christianity is not devotion to a work or a cause or a doctrine; it is devotion to a person.

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26). Jesus doesn’t argue or compel. He simply says that if we wish to be his disciples, we must be devoted to him. When we are touched by the Spirit of God, we see suddenly who Jesus is, and this becomes the source of our devotion.

Today, we’ve substituted ideological belief for personal belief. This is why so many are devoted to causes and so few to him. People don’t want to be devoted to Jesus; they want to be devoted to the cause he started. Jesus Christ the person is deeply offensive to the educated mind of today, to those who don’t want to see him as anything other than a champion of their cause.

Our Lord’s obedience was to the will of the Father, not to the needs of humanity. The saving of humanity was the natural outcome of that obedience. If we are devoted only to humanity, our love will falter, and we will soon be exhausted. But if we love Jesus, personally and passionately, we will be able to serve humanity, even if people treat us like doormats.

The secret of the disciple’s life is devotion to Jesus Christ; its hallmark is unobtrusiveness. It is like a kernel of wheat that falls to the ground and dies, then springs up, transforming the entire landscape (John 12:24).

Wisdom from Oswald

We can understand the attributes of God in other ways, but we can only understand the Father’s heart in the Cross of Christ.  The Highest Good—Thy Great Redemption, 558 L