The Economics of Discipleship

“Take nothing for the journey…” (Luke 9:3)

25th Week in Ordinary Time, Wednesday (Year II)

Proverbs 30:5-9; Psalm 119; Luke 9:1-6

Give me neither poverty nor riches; provide me only with the food I need (Proverbs 30:8).

“Take nothing for the journey, neither walking stick, nor sack, nor food, nor money, and let no one take a second tunic. Whatever house you enter, stay there and leave from there” (Luke 9:3-4).

Blink, and the last second is gone. Ephemeral is existence. Neither spacetime, matter, nor possessions can be clung to. The Trinitarian communion of persons alone is timeless, and the transfigured, Christic cosmos that lies dormant in seed.

The writer of Proverbs knew the value of non-attachment—the state of equanimity between the extremes of starvation and surfeit. “Give us this day our daily bread” is a prayer for all ages. If we have enough for today, we are blessed.

Jesus’ disciples also had to learn to move with the Spirit and not be excessively concerned with bodily provisions. God always provides for his servants, the Gospels say. The women who followed Jesus and his disciples provided for them out of their own means (Luke 8:1-3), and generous people en route offered hospitality in their homes. St. Paul supplemented his income by tentmaking, but encouraged Christians to support the poor and needy, which included missionaries.

Material needs are a reality that cannot be ignored. Perhaps the only way to understand the economics of discipleship is to offer our time, talents, and resources to the Lord to use at his disposal. The learning curve is steep, but 

“A journey of a thousand miles
Begins beneath the feet.”

“Your word, O Lord, is a lamp for my feet” (Psalm 119:105).


1 Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chapter 64, translated by Derek Lin.

One Reply to “The Economics of Discipleship”

  1. The only joy in the world is to begin.
    — Cesare Pavese
    Thank you for your post. Again, it is inspiration for the journey.

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