I have been looking at the gospel reading for this Sunday--Mark 1:14-20. In it, Jesus calls his disciples, who happen to be minding their own business as fisherman. "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of people," he says. So they drop everything in response to Jesus' call.
Then I am on Facebook, and I see the following add for "Dreamchasers Connect" for a book called Dream Big: 33 Inspiring Lessons for the Purpose-Drive Entrepeneur. Here's the blurb:
"Whatever stage you are in life, let me assure you that this book is a source of motivation and guidance for your purpose, entrepreneurial dreams, spiritual life and more. It chisels at the misconceptions of mindsets dealing with wealth, gifts and callings, success, prosperity and purpose. It exposes our finite minds on how we settle for second best when God wants to give us the best."
Undoubtedly, Facebook crafted this add based on my search history etc. Jesus says "follow" in the text, and Dreamchasers connects this call to God's desire to "give us the best" and increase our wealth and equity. This is what is often called "prosperity theology." Following Jesus comes with some pretty sweet benefits!
I don't mean this particular person disrespect. But it seems to me that following Jesus leads the disciples in to some not-so-fun places. Jesus himself tells them that they must lose their lives to win them, and tells them to take up their cross and follow--that he himself is subjected to. Not much about prosperity here, or "success," at least how we conventionally define it.
Sometimes I wonder if we see the Way of Jesus as just another way for us to cash in--be it in terms of our own material success or a way to accrue blessings for ourselves here and in the hereafter. Undoubtedly, the life ("the kingdom") that Jesus invites us to is "life abundant," a life more powerful, meaningful than anything we could imagine. Yet, that way does not seem to lead us around the sufferings of the world, but in and through them to new life on the other side. Surely, discipleship is filled with joy. But it is likely to be costly, rather than cost-effective.
I really wish it were true. It's a nice dream to chase. But the dreams we chase are not always the same as the disciples dropping everything to chase Jesus.