Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet”; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.
Psalm 112:1B-2, 4-5, 9
Happy are those who fear the Lord,
who greatly delight in his commandments.
Their descendants will be mighty in the land;
the generation of the upright will be blessed.
They rise in the darkness as a light for the upright;
they are gracious, merciful, and righteous.
It is well with those who deal generously and lend,
who conduct their affairs with justice.
They have distributed freely, they have given to the poor;
their righteousness endures forever;
their horn is exalted in honor.
Now large crowds were traveling with him; and he turned and said to them, “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.’ Or what king, going out to wage war against another king, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand? If he cannot, then, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for the terms of peace. So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions.
Time and again many of us have read about, experienced, or perpetrated that newly trendy etiquette breach known as “flaking”. In a literal sense, a flake is something that was part of or adhered to something else that somehow became brittle or lost adhesion, chipped off, and floated away, or flaked off. In the colloquial sense, a person acts like this literal flake by letting go of a commitment, generally in a passive, capricious manner. It is distinct from the situation in which something comes up and plans have to change; rather, in flaking, a person gives their word casually with the caveat that they may fail to follow through if they simply don’t feel like it or get a better offer. An occasional flaking on casual plans is generally taken in stride. However, if the flaking becomes a chronic behavior or if a more serious commitment is flaked on, trust can be broken and the offender labeled “flaky”. Their word becomes meaningless, because they are not willing to do what it takes to stand by it.
In the scripture today, Jesus explains that following Him is the sort of commitment that you don’t just flake on. Like commencing a major construction project or waging a war, it is something that you don’t do casually on the side; it is all or nothing, and the repercussions extend beyond yourself and your lifetime. The price of this commitment? In a word, love. What does that love look like? Preferring nothing (relationships, possessions, even our own life) to Christ. Carrying our cross. Loving our neighbor constantly, without caveat.
Today, let’s examine where our commitment to Christ and to love may be weak, superficial, or susceptible to flaking, and ask Him to strengthen our resolve for Him by allowing Him to love us more than ever. Let’s pray for the grace not to flake on loving and following Jesus.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for carrying the cross for me. Strengthen my resolve to carry my cross for You, to receive Your love more than ever, and to freely give what I have received.