How do Jesus followers choose where and how we worship and serve others? If it’s based on our convenience, comfort, preferences and schedule, what is the cost?
If we pay tithes like membership dues and just work it into our budget, what is the sacrifice?
If we are not even inconvenienced by following Christ, how can we say we are crucified with Him?
Galatians 2:20 (NKJV)
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
We pummel sinners with Bible verses about how to give up their sin, but we won’t even give up our comfort zone. That’s not seeking the lost. That’s exalting ourselves that we are not like those sinners. Jesus made it clear.
Luke 18:9-14 (NLT)
9 Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else: 10 “Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not like other people—cheaters, sinners, adulterers. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! 12 I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’
13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ 14 I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Following Jesus isn’t a weekly checklist of group activities with the people we like who are most like us. Jesus didn’t say gather and make disciples. He didn’t say gather and make each other feel good about yourselves. He said go. Go make disciples.
We will never get the making part right, unless we are willing to lay down whatever stands in the way of go.
If we go to church to get something out of it, that’s all we will get. Consumers count the cost of convenience, willing to go wherever it’s more comfortable.
Disciples count the cost of what they leave behind as nothing, compared to following Jesus.
What did my worship cost? What did my serving cost? What did my prayer time and Bible reading cost? What did that donation really cost me? Is it a just a convenient checklist or a living, breathing sacrifice.
Romans 12:1 (NLT)
And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.
Count the cost. This verse and story was in my Bible reading plan this week. It’s easy to read it but more difficult to live it. How many times have I tried to squeeze by and give only what cost me nothing?
2 Samuel 24:24 (NLT)
But the king replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on buying it, for I will not present burnt offerings to the Lord my God that have cost me nothing.” So David paid him fifty pieces of silver for the threshing floor and the oxen.