Thursday, November 14, 2013

Counting the Cost

Good Thursday morning! Life as we know it may change today, or it may continue much the same. That is the sort of useless announcement we get often enough. However, I notice that if we lay out lots of hard cash, or a credit card, we can change our life for the better forever, or at least until the quantity offered runs out. If you work in marketing, I'm sorry. There now, don't sob like that, I know it's tough to have a job in an evil empire. At least you don't work in IT. Try living in a job where your primary duty is to say, "No, you can't." all the time. A job that tries to make folks want something seems much better by comparison. So what happened when Jesus marketed this Christian path?

In this world you will have trouble. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. Love your enemies, bless those who curse you. Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth... That's just a bit from John 16:33, and a little more from Matthew 5 and 6. This is supposed to make us want this new life?

No, this is part of our counting the cost. Forget fame in Christ, infamy is more our lot. Our treasure piles up in Heaven; we cannot go shopping with it here in a mall. They called Jesus names that make us wonder why lightning didn't fall from the heavens. There is a good chance that our Lord's followers will hear some vile epithets in their lifetimes. We are not even allowed to hate our enemies, and a lawsuit means we give up everything. I wonder if the government has an opening?

What makes us give our lives to Jesus? The answer must not be anything we gain in the world. We endure a short time for the promise of eternity. Even in this life we have examples of this. Few would join the military to endure four years of boot camp, and we would question the sanity of those that did. However, gain a guaranteed lifetime income, a 2500 sq ft. house on 80 acres, a couple of cars, and maybe a spot on a reality show and suddenly the four years of boot camp don't look quite so bad. If we could only see what we gain from this life, we would not look at the cost as high at all. We must take it on faith though, and that makes it difficult.

But, is this short part of eternity all that terribly bad? It can be at times, there is no doubt of that, but we also gain much. The fruits of the Spirit help us to endure. Friends in Christ suffer along side of us. At times we suffer less and we can be comforters to those in greater need. The loss of a brother or sister in Christ we know to be only temporary. Should we lose our tunic and cloak in a lawsuit, we have the promise of God to provide for us. Enemies may revile us all around, but God is sovereign forever. God's very Spirit dwells within you and me. Best of all, Jesus, God's Son, died on the cross to take away the penalty of sin we once faced. Times are tough, but I don't consider the cost bad at all.

Love in Christ, our eternal Savior,

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