Being a Christian is a dangerous endeavor—or at least it should be. When I read the Words of Jesus as he both calls and sends disciples, I am astonished at what he demands.
He invites Peter and Andrew to “Come, be fishers of men” (Matt 4). He turns away followers who have business to settle before they can fully commit to following Jesus. When someone else offers to be his disciple he responds with: “Foxes have holes and birds have nests, but I don’t have anywhere to lay my head” (Matt 8; Luke 9).
Perhaps the strongest statement Jesus makes about discipleship is this: “If anyone would be my disciple, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me” (Matt 16:24). The invitation is to come and die. The expectation is sacrifice. The path of discipleship is a dangerous one.
I saw this ad floating around the internet a few years back that has really impacted me. Legend has it that Ernest Shackleton published this ad when looking for men to accompany him on his exploration of Antarctica in the 1910s. I can’t help but think that his invitation is truer to Jesus’ call to discipleship than some of the ways we often extend that call today.
“Men wanted for hazardous journey. Low wages, bitter cold, long hours of complete darkness. Safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in event of success.”