One year after reading the biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas (Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy http://www.amazon.com/Bonhoeffer-Pastor-Martyr-Prophet-Spy/dp/1595552464/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1338379314&sr=8-1) I read, “The Cost of Discipleship” by Dietrich Bonhoeffer himself.
Even knowing Bonhoeffer was a martyr for Christ, I was blown away by his words! As I read both books, I kept wondering “did he know he was going to give his life for Christ? Did he realize he would end up giving all?”
I don’t have an answer to those questions. What I can tell you, is daily Bonhoeffer committed his life to Christ. He knew what it meant to take up his cross and follow his savior.
Next week I look forward to beginning a series based on his book that I believe will challenge you and make you re-evaluate your commitment to God.
But before beginning this series on Monday, I wanted you to have some background information on who Bonhoeffer was as I think it will help make his words more powerful.
Before giving his life, Bonhoeffer lost many other things, things that would have most of us crumbling or admitting defeat.
He was devoted to learning and teaching…under Hitler, he was not allowed to continue teaching in Universities.
He loved his church, loved serving his flock…due to pressures from outside the church by the Nazi Regime, Bonhoeffer left the church. The church had grown complacent and tolerant and they didn’t like Bonhoeffer challenging their traditions.
He loved his family…due to threats from the Nazi’s, Bonhoeffer spent much of his life away from those he loved to help keep them safe.
He loved to travel…again, thanks to Hitler, Bonhoeffer was limited on the things he had dreamed of experiencing.
He loved writing…due to his work in resisting Hitler, Bonhoeffer was not able to devote as much time as possible to writing, then his last book was cut short by his untimely death (just a few short weeks before Hitler himself died).
He met a woman, they were engaged…before they could be married, he spent years in prison and then died.
These are just a few of the things Bonhoeffer sacrificed for serving his Lord.
As we read “The Cost of Discipleship” please keep in mind this man knew what he was talking about.
To me, this book has power because the man who wrote it was a hero, a man we should all look up to, and a man who truly followed Christ- no matter the cost. Thankfully God does require us all to bare such crosses, but we do each have a cross and we must take it up daily.
Before you start thinking I’m a fanatic about Bonhoeffer, let me tell you, he was not perfect.
At one point he thought to flee to America to avoid Hitler. Once there, he felt convicted and returned to Germany to fight the monster known as Adolf Hitler. This isn’t the only instance he wondered if he was on the right path. Within himself, he battled in knowing what God’s will was for his life. He struggled between honoring God and loving his country. (We won’t get into his part in the plot to assassinate Hitler, it was not a decision Bonhoeffer took lightly- you will need to read Metaxas’ book to get the full details).
Today Bonhoeffer would be horrified to learn his life and works have been co-opted by the left. I’m still puzzled how the left has managed to twist his life. All I can assume is that they are marginally successful because so many have not studied this man nor read his works first hand. Instead they read distortions. If one would simply read his own words, they would come to realize Bonhoeffer was a man sincere in his devotion to God and to his country.
Another thing Bonhoeffer would be saddened by is that some have taken a cult like obsession about him and are worshiping him rather than the Glorious Christ he served with his very being.
It is not my objective to glorify Bonhoeffer, only to point out his devotion to Christ as we read his words and are challenged to go deeper in our commitment and discipleship in serving the One True Savior- Jesus Christ. To Him alone be glory and honor.
I’ve written one other post on Bonhoeffer, you can check it out here: http://tcavey.blogspot.com/2011/08/even-adults-need-role-models.html