In Luke 14:25-26, large crowds were traveling with Jesus. These people were there for every reason: some had been healed, a few were raised from the dead, some had been fed by Jesus, and others just liked the show. So He turned to them and said, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple” (v. 26).
That seems like a contradiction: we are not to hate, are we? No, Jesus meant this: “If you compare the love you have for Me to the love for your family and relatives, the two cannot stand side by side. Your love for Me should be so great that the difference between the two is like love and hate.” He would never tell us to hate our family, but that our love for Him is to be so great that it appears that we do. The first part of being His steward and His disciple is that we have unrivaled love for Him. Nothing else can be on the same shelf. Many Christians claim, “Christ is first in my life,” and then put Him up there on a shelf along with everything else.
Jesus warned that our relationship with people, the world, and possessions can rival our love for Him. So He said, "He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me” (Matthew 10:37). If what your mother and father think causes you to disobey Christ, you are not worthy of Him. I am glad Jesus said that; those may be “fighting words” to some, but that is the unrivaled love that Christ demands from us as His disciples.
All this deals with the affections of our heart. Jesus said, “If you claim to love Me, but the love you have for Me is not unrivaled, you can’t be My disciple.” Do the affections of your heart reflect Jesus Christ in this manner?
Stewardship is unceasing cross bearing for Christ. Jesus has already made the standard so high that it is out of reach of everybody except by the power of God. Yet, He doesn’t stop with unrivaled love. He continued by saying, "Whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. … And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me” (Luke 14:27; Matthew 10:38). In other words, Jesus did not stop with the affections of our hearts—He said there must also be unceasing cross bearing, which deals with our conduct in life.
Taken from "Giving God What Is His" by Discover the Book Ministries.