Approximately ½ million people jump out of perfectly good airplanes each year in the United States. They average 6 jumps per person for a total of 3,000,000 free fall experiences a year. The stories of people dying make the headlines because they are both traumatic and tragic. But, they are rare. In 2013, only 24 were killed Skydiving (1 in every 100,000 jumps). You are actually 24 times more likely to die in a car accident.
But, let’s not get off our focus. In the United States, 500,000 people jump out of perfectly good airplanes each year. Every time they do, they have totally abandoned all personal control of their fate. They do have the option of pulling a ripcord, but even then, they can’t control whether it will open. But they do it anyway.
When the World Free-Fall Convention was in Quincy, I watched a parachute come down without a passenger (which, by the way, is a far better sight than the alternative). I sidled up to a group of observers talking to the jumper. “It happens a lot, actually. But you always have a reserve chute,” I heard him say. All I could think was, “Often…reserve chute…”; and, “Is there a reserve for the reserve?”
Total abandonment requires absolute trust in your equipment. You have to be fully convinced that your parachute will open and you will come floating gently to the ground, or you wouldn’t jump.
Essentially, that’s what’s involved in Kingdom living. You are called to totally abandon your confidence in anything other than Jesus. So, in our story, a man is asked to give up all his wealth. In other stories, men are called away from their careers, or from their families, or from their self-preservation. To live in the Kingdom means being total allegiance to the King. To do that, you have to totally abandon your confidence in self, employer, government, ingenuity, self-reliance, luck, and any other idea that might fit.
The difference between skydiving and being a disciple is not the danger level. The difference is the confidence level. You can be 99.9% sure the parachute will open; you can be 100% sure Jesus will be with you.