QVC, HSN and the other shopping channels that broadcast 24 hours a day offer a large variety of products, such as small appliances, electronics, clothing, shoes, vitamins, cosmetics, home décor, cookware, exercise equipment, and much more.

If you watch these channels you know those presenting the items speak about the fantastic deals and the available monthly payment plans that make the items seem like wonderful bargains.

However, most of the airtime is given not to the price of an item but to extolling the benefits that come from owning a certain product. For example, hosts speak about how a certain cosmetic will slow down aging, how certain supplements and exercise equipment will rejuvenate the human body, how a particular slow cooker will make someone into a chef, how the right security equipment will protect a person’s home and possessions.

Hosts also encourage those who have already purchased the product being offered, to call in and to testify how the item has enhanced their lives.

Marketers know that what most influences a person’s decision to purchase an item is not the price but rather the value and benefit a person sees in having the product.

In this Sunday’s Gospel (Luke 9:51-62) we hear about three men who express a desire to become disciples of Jesus.

When the first one tells Jesus that he wants to follow him, Jesus tells him that the price of discipleship will entail having no set place to call home. As Jesus says, “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.”

Next, Jesus takes the initiative and he invites a man to follow him. But when that man says he first has to fulfill his duty to his father before he can respond, Jesus tells him that discipleship demands an immediate response. Follow today, not tomorrow. As Jesus bluntly puts it, “Let the dead bury their dead. But you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”

A third man appears on the scene and tells Jesus he will follow him but first he must go back home and say his farewells and put things in order. Jesus tells him to look to the future and not to the past. Just as a plowman needs to keep looking forward to keep his furrows straight, so does a disciple. “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Jesus clearly tells each man the price of discipleship. Luke does not tell us how each man responded. But we can be certain if they did become disciples it was only because they recognized the value, the blessings, the benefit, the new and everlasting life that would be theirs as followers of Jesus.

That was true for Peter, Andrew, James and John and all the apostles. They willingly paid the price of discipleship because they recognized the value of what Jesus was offering them.

If people of our day are going to embrace the Gospel, if they are going to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior, if they are going to become part of the Church, we need to testify to the positive difference that being a Christian has made in our personal lives. We need to show them the benefits that come with following Jesus Christ.

We Christians need to take a lesson from HSN and QVC. Before people decide to buy anything, they first need to be convinced it will benefit their lives, only then will they be ready to pay the price.

© 2019 Rev. Thomas B. Iwanowski