Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, The Cost of Discipleship, a must read for any theologian, armchair or professional. This short manifesto explains how grace is free, yet it is not easy nor is it without cost. The difference between cheap grace and costly grace is important if you are interested in becoming a student, a disciple of Jesus. Everyone is invited; there are no qualifications for stepping your sandal, croc, high-heeled shoe, army boot, or sneakers behind the King of Kings. Your invitation has already arrived; in fact over 2000 years ago God invited and keeps on inviting.
When we finally say “YES,” to the invitation, understand that no matter where you have come from, or where you are, or where you are going, God has always been with you and always will be with you, whether you invite God or not. God never stops being . . . with us. This is grace. However, the cost of this grace, which is free, will turn your heart into an engine of repentance, confession, and hunger to know more. This is good news. Really. Because once we realize that we are loved no matter what, we are compelled to do this hard work; it frees us to do so much good in the world. The offering of grace makes us better friends, co-workers, partners, community and humans.
Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it cost a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son: “you were bought at a price.” And what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. - The Cost of Discipleship, Dietrich Bonhoeffer,
The Cost of Discipleship came to my mind this week after a hard week of stressing and wondering about the outcome of our local elections. It came to my mind after weeks long praying about and considering my role on the Noblesville School Board. My husband John and I have been in the public spotlight for over 16 years, and there has been a cost. Our private lives are rarely private; we live in a fish bowl, and are called to be role models of decency, and honor. While hard, we would not have changed our course. I joke to John that him becoming mayor in 2004, sent me directly to God, and seminary. When we follow our vocation, a call more than a job, we give up one life to do another; it requires sacrifice.
People who call themselves: people of faith, people of the book, or identify as a member of a denomination, often call themselves disciples. There is a cost of discipleship. How are we living it out? Do people recognize it? I wonder, are we really living grace filled lives?
- Noblesville’s Teri Ditslear is a pastor whose column appears Saturdays in The Times. Contact her at, on Facebook or at