Oct 8, 2012

Book Review: Hazardous

It’s a book about discipleship and it’s a thoughtful read. Hazardous: Committing to the Cost of Following Jesus asks the question: What does following Jesus look like today? Authors Ed Cyzewski and Derek Cooper take an in-depth look at this beautiful, messy, and—yes,sometimes hazardous—road. In explaining the title of the book, Cyzewski and Cooper challenge us to expand the view of Jesus as “a nice guy who blesses children” to the fuller picture of a revolutionary teacher who tells us to “count the costs” of following him.

Hazardous is divided into three parts: Understanding Discipleship, What Discipleship Looks Like, and How Discipleship Works. In each section, the authors use scripture and personal stories to illustrate points on the anatomy of Biblical discipleship. Here at The High Calling, we are especially interested in that middle section of the book: What Discipleship Looks Like.   

Many Christians might wonder, “As a secular worker, can God use me?”or “Should I leave my job and go into ministry?” or even “Does my work have any kingdom significance?” Cyzewski and Cooper assure us that not only does discipleship involve our personal and family lives; it involves our public lives as well. Sometimes, God may ask us to take that bold step of pursuing a different vocational direction. But for most of us? The authors tell us that God wants to use us to make an impact for the kingdom right where we are.

There are many different ways to use our work to honor God. The authors cite the New Testament story of Aquila and Priscilla as one example.

The New Testament figures Aquila and Priscilla could have gone down in history as the second most famous tentmakers in the world behind Paul. Instead, we know them as Paul’s companions who took their own missionary callings seriously…rather than meekly settling in with their tents and letting Paul and the rest of the apostles teach and share the gospel, Aquila and Priscilla were tentmakers and missionaries at the same time. Becoming missionaries did not mean their day jobs making tents had to stop. 

And then there was Joanna. We are told in Luke 8:3 that Joanna—the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household—was a financial supporter of Jesus’ ministry.

Herod and his family were far from popular among the rank and file peasants at the time of Jesus. Herod stood for the illegitimate rule of Rome and crushing taxes. It would have been scandalous among many, or at least a large minority, in Jesus’ audience to see members of Herod’s household as equal partners in His work. Rather than demanding that Joanna and Chuza drop their affiliation with Herod, Jesus didn’t ask that they sever their ties with Herod’s regime. Joanna had left the comfort of the palace behind and put her resources behind the ministry of Jesus that had brought healing to many…Some disciples were Jesus’ constant companions, while others worked and supported His ministry.

Hazardous, indeed.

Cyzewski and Cooper give examples of starting a prayer group at work, using success in business to bless others, being examples of integrity and justice in the workplace, and many other illustrations of using our work to further kingdom principles. And there are sacrifices often involved—hazardous ones.

This book will expand your view of what it means to be a disciple. And it will encourage you as you follow Jesus—whatever that walk looks like in your life right now. I’ll leave you with this thought from Hazardous:

Sometimes disciples today are called out of work right away like the original disciples, but for every disciple who left nets and ledgers behind, we have merchants, tradesmen, soldiers and public servants who both committed their lives to the gospel and continued to work at their jobs. What set them apart from the rest of the public was their commitment to living the gospel, generosity to the poor, and willingness to drop everything if God so desired…

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Has there ever been a time when following your faith felt hazardous in your work arena?

 

One lucky commenter will win a copy of Hazardous: Committing to the Cost of Following Jesus and Holy Nomad: The Rugged Road to Joy. You can read my review of Holy Nomad here. Leave your comment by Thursday, Oct.11 at 10 pm and the winner will be announced on an update of this post Friday morning. A big thank you to CLC Publications and Abingdon Press for providing copies of these books for giveaway and review.

**Update: The book giveaway winner is Janis Cox! Congratulations, Janis! I'll be in touch.

 

Post by Laura J. Boggess.

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