Wednesday, June 27, 2012
COUNTING THE COST
On Monday I told you that God has been teaching me about letting go…
Today I want to share two more lessons that He's been teaching me.
Tougher lessons, perhaps.
The first is all about security.
What gives us security – at least in this world?
Money, possessions, good health, family, friends. How we count on these things. I know I sure have.
And yet, all of that has been well shaken up in the last several months. In these last few days in my old home, I have been made acutely aware of how attached I am to the things that make me feel secure.
Especially familiar places, familiar faces.
It seems that the whole idea of security isn't really much of an issue, until you're forced to change. Then the rubber meets the road…
And let me tell you, my rubber has met the road SO MANY TIMES in the last 45 days!
Abraham was asked to leave his homeland – his familiar places and familiar faces. God issued him a challenge – but it was a challenge with a promise attached.
And in many ways, God's call to move up the mountain was a challenge to me.
"Sharon, are you going to obey?"
My answer has been yes – an anxious, tired yes this week – but still yes.
Because the truth of the matter is this – my security, my earthly and my eternal security – lies squarely in the character of God, and in His faithful promises.
The other lesson that He's been teaching me is that being a disciple comes at a cost.
God doesn't tend to make *suggestions* – He issues commands.
And we are wise to "count the cost" before we obey Him.
A faithful follower named Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote a very important and influential book titled, "The Cost of Discipleship." His thoughts:
"Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.
Costly grace is the treasure hidden in the field; for the sake of it a man will go and sell all that he has. It is the pearl of great price to buy which the merchant will sell all his goods. It is the kingly rule of Christ, for whose sake a man will pluck out the eye which causes him to stumble; it is the call of Jesus Christ at which the disciple leaves his nets and follows him.
Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock.
Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son: "ye were bought at a price," and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon his Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered him up for us. Costly grace is the Incarnation of God."
Jesus Himself was very, very honest about the cost of discipleship.
"'Then Jesus said to his disciples, 'If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.''
(Matthew 16:24, NIV)
"'And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple. But don't begin until you count the cost.'"
The original twelve disciples left family and jobs and homes when they chose to follow Jesus. They left relative security to obey Christ's call. I want to be a follower, too.
So, the cost is this – leaving familiar places, familiar faces.
But oh the rewards that await me!
I lift my eyes up to the mountains
Where does my help come from
My help comes from You
Maker of heaven, creator of the earth
Oh how I need You Lord
You are my only hope
You are my only friend
So I will wait for You
To come and rescue me
Come and give me life...
Are you willing to count the cost and follow Jesus – even into an uncertain future?
Linked today with Joan at the GRACE CAFE
BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"