Luke 14:27 “Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.”
Have you ever stopped to think that whatever we do in life, it has a price. A price is the value or measure of worth it takes to either acquire something or invest into a particular endeavor.
It might take a cardiologist fifteen years of training to start fully practicing on their own, the investment of time equals the responsibility of the position. If someone wants to go into professional sports, the amount of hours it takes to train their bodies, eat right, practice their art, and then hope it relates on the field of play is also a sizeable investment. Some practices don’t look like much of an investment, until you realize the toll it takes on the individual and on the people around them.
Deciding to be homeless has a cost….yes, I said deciding…I’ve met hundreds of people on the streets and the majority of them made a choice to “not serve the man”, or “choosing their freedom”, over responsibility. The ‘freedom’ that comes with living in a world without any responsibilities has a steep price, those who choose to partake pay the price of insecurity, shame, treachery from others around them, their bodies suffer, their families suffer, and what was meant to be freedom is revealed to be a lie. The enemy waits at the gate for those who want to live on the streets, I’ve never seen more manifestations of demonic work than in the alley ways of drug addiction and alcohol abuse.
People pay a steep price for their lifestyles, sometimes it’s not the price they may have predicted. The physician spends a majority of their life in hospitals and clinics. The professional athlete spends their youth on fields and in gyms, striving to be the best.
What is it in life we pay for our endeavors?
Value in Life
Let’s consider for a moment the things and people we value and then compare them to each other.
1 Timothy 4:8 “For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.”
- Health–Consider the amount of money people place in their health. The gym memberships, the type of food they purchase, the doctor appointments, the equipment to train, magazines, books, supplements, the list goes on for ways to spend money on improving or maintaining health.
- Careers–The drive in western society is to be educated and get a high paying job. People spend tens of thousands of dollars, sometimes hundreds of thousands to get an education, they invest years of study so they can spend years on a job building their career and portfolio; only to give it to their kids when they die. The investment of money and time is at the cost of placing time into other endeavors, knowing the money they make later will make up for the amount they initially spent.
- Entertainment–When we consider how much money people spend on vacations, most of the world would be appalled at the sum. Going to a sporting event could set someone back thousands of dollars, for a 3 hour game. I know people who spent ten thousand dollars at Disney world for a week of entertainment. T.V.’s, video games, music, the opportunities are galore for ways to invest in entertainment, all to make a memory.
- Clothing–I know a person who regularly buys shoes from Italy for $700-$900 a pair….tennis shoes. Fuzzy jackets that cost $2200, or pants that cost hundreds…how many shirts,pants, or shoes do we really need? In some circles, a dress will only be worn once or twice, certain shoes only go with a certain outfit, boxes of jewelry that are rarely worn; the list goes on for items we purchase in excess.
- Food–I’ve known of restaurants that charge $750 a meal, I suppose there are others that are even more excessive. Some people invest in food that is really bad for them, the heart disease and diabetes shouldn’t come as a surprise.
Value in Faith
When considering life and what is important, what could be more important than where you place your faith?
Luke 9:25 “For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?
There is absolutely nothing in this world that can compare to the value of your soul. This flesh is susceptible to disease, aging, and trauma, but our souls go on forever.
Matthew 10:28 “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”
Because our souls are the greatest personal value we have, where we entrust our souls is of utmost importance. For those who place their faith in science, they are relegated to the extent of that knowledge. For others who place their faith in men, they better hope those men were right. Joseph Smith, Charles Russell, Muhammed, a Pope, it’s these people who have led many to follow their interpretation of Truth and consequently many to Hell.
John 14:6 “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
What it Takes
Since our souls are so valuable and Jesus is the only One who has redeemed the soul from sin and death, then following Christ becomes imperative.
What does it take to follow Jesus?
Luke 9:23 “And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”
It takes everything to follow Jesus.
For some people, following Jesus costs them their freedom, for others they forfeit good jobs, in some countries following Jesus could send them to jail or prison camps, and for even more…death is an ever present possibility. In many places, people who turn to Jesus relinquish their place in their community, which becomes a hardship.
What does it take for you to follow Jesus?
Time with fellow believers is a commitment, giving up certain practices is a real possibility, giving up certain friends or entertainment are mild in comparison to what many endure.
Do we take the importance of what it means to be a follower of Christ with the seriousness that it deserves? Do we teach it to our children, do we share the gospel with our neighbors and co-workers?
Do we really live like nothing is more important than the faith that has been given to us by God?
When we demonstrate to others the cost of becoming a believer, there no longer remains the question of what we might gain from following Christ but what we can give Him for the grace He has shown.
Matthew 10:22 “And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.”
Bearing the cross is die to our old nature, our old ways, our pride, and selfishness.
“To carry your cross, means to fully put your trust in God amid the storms and battles in your life. It means that although you may be in an extremely difficult or painful situation, you always trust that God is with you in the midst of your suffering.”Andy Buku
Carrying the cross is to relinquish your family, your community, and even your own life to God. Trusting in His provision, trusting in the life that He has implanted in us, and trusting our future that He promised us in glory.
Matthew 19:28-30 “So Jesus said to them, “Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
Jesus laid it out very clearly what it takes to follow Him. He showed the world that which has value and that which will pass away.
What have you invested your life into, will it last or will it pass away in the fires of God’s judgement…it really is up to you.