“If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.” Luke 14:26
“Leave nothing on the table,” is an interesting phrase, especially in regards to Christian living. The “table” in this expression comes from poker, where if you don’t play intelligently, you’re leaving your money on the poker table. The sports world has similar phrases. They say to players about to start a new game, “Go out there and play sixty minutes of ball and leave nothing on the field.” Obviously I have better things to write about than how to play a good game of poker or football. However, if you feel convicted that in 2015 you might have left something on the table or the field that could’ve been used for the Lord’s glory then keep reading.
In 2016 if you are going to take the utmost advantage of everything available to you in becoming a fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ then you’ve got to take your cues from the Lord.
When Jesus used the word hate in our text He was not advocating that the requirement for leaving nothing on the table as His disciple was to actually hate family, friends and ourselves. What He was doing was using a sharp contrast in order to make a point. We know that hate is the opposite of love and what’s interesting is that the direction of this hate is not toward something that could be easily hated like sin. Instead we are instructed to hate what would be considered the noblest thing we could love – our family. The emphasis here is that our love for God is to be so strong that our love for anyone or anything else would pale in comparison.
Leaving nothing on the table means that our love for God must take pre-eminence over all things. This could be relationships like we see in Luke 9 where a man tells Jesus in v.59, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” Right there conflict arises because if Jesus is truly Lord and we are His disciples then He is first, not us. This man was really using his family as an excuse to leave nothing on the table and wanted to wait until they grew old and died before he would follow Jesus. Jesus reply was, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God” (v.60).
Leaving nothing on the table not only impacts our relationships, but it also impacts our resources. When the Rich Young man approached Jesus with questions about eternal life in Mark 10, touting the fact that he had kept all the commandments, Jesus let him know that he has still left something on the table. Mark 10:21-22 “And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, ‘You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; come, follow me.’ 22Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.”
Jesus wants to test our heart. He wants to be sure that we love Him more than anyone or anything else. If there ever comes a time when the call of some earthly love and the cross of Christ are in conflict, the call of Christ must prevail. Will you step out from the fickle multitudes and fair-weather followers today and be a true disciple of Jesus, loving Him more than anyone or anything else? If so then make a commitment today and tell the Lord that in 2016 you will leave nothing on the table.
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