Sunday, February 10, 2008

Haggling Over the Cost

I was reading about the cost of discipleship in the gospel of Luke this morning, and I feel foolish.

Just the other day I felt a bit sorry for myself, enumerating in my mind what this mission of ours has cost in terms of relationships, primarily. I actually said to God, "I had no idea it would cost this much." The financial aspect I can live with, money being such a fickle part of life anyway. But by calling and choice we’ve stepped outside the comfort of our established relationships and started over.

Yet even as I whined, I couldn’t help seeing God’s wisdom in putting us through this specific training module. What in the world did I think would happen when we move to a large metropolitan area in another eighteen months and instead of joining an established church with a ready-made family, we start living the life of Christ in the midst of those who don’t yet know him?

Jesus said, "Anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple." That particular cross is not simply some trial or tribulation—we all have plenty of those forced on us by the nature of things—it’s the cross on which we voluntarily crucify our own plans, desires, and self-will for that of God’s.

In a reading last week, Oswald Chambers questioned, " . . .do you say, 'I am not willing to be poured out right now, and I don’t want God to tell me how to serve Him. I want to choose the place of my own sacrifice. And I want to have certain people watching me and saying, Well done.'"

Well, yes. Sometimes I do.

But here’s another truth: there is nothing I must give up that compares to knowing Jesus and being transformed into his likeness. Nothing so sweet as volunteering to be sent and having Jesus push me out of the nest and into the hearts of people who need him.

I’m stronger now for my wrestling with discipleship self-pity. Wrestling with it and winning by the power of the Spirit at work in me. If this is what it costs, so be it. I’m not haggling anymore, for I’ve gotten the better end of the deal no matter how you slice it.

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