Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Cost

          All of our lives we've had to make choices. Part of the decision-making process of making choices is determining the cost. Can we afford to make this choice? 
          Sometime the cost is minimal and doesn't really come into play in the decision making process. But other times the cost is extremely high and we look at all the options and consider whether the cost is worth it. We count the cost of making the choice.
          Jesus was pointing that very thing out to the crowd surrounding him, those who were weighing the cost of following him.  He was letting them know that in order to follow him they would have to give up everything that was dear to them, mother, father, sister, brother, husband, wife, son and daughter, everything.
          That’s the question before us. What’s the cost to follow Jesus? Is the cost to follow Jesus the price of a new HD flat screen television? Is the cost to follow Jesus the price of 4 weeks of vacation in the Bahamas in February? Jesus says it isn't.
          Some folks hear the story about God’s love for us and the sacrifice of Jesus, his Son, on the cross and then they hear that they have to give it all to Him and they hesitate. The cost sounds too extreme.
          Is the cost to follow Jesus the price of a new car? Is the cost to follow Jesus what we’d spend every week at the bakery or at garage sales or at Target or Sears or Kohls? Is the cost to follow Jesus the price of a new outfit? No it isn't.
          What is the cost to follow Jesus? I’ll tell you what the cost is. The price for following Jesus is saying to your neighbor, “I love you,” and meaning it. The price for believing in Jesus is allowing God to renew us through his Spirit and providing us with the energy to do everything he calls us to do.
          The price for following Jesus is letting go and trusting when we read, “Behold, I make all things new,” and then participating in the renewal. The price for following Jesus is “not storing up riches for yourself,” but sharing the lives and gifts we have with all the folks we meet.
          The price for following Jesus is turning the other cheek and then walking away even as others laugh at you. It’s not storing up riches for ourselves but sharing what we have with others. It’s coming to the realization that we don’t live by bread alone but divide and share what we have with the wealthy and the hungry.
          It’s not turning away anyone who comes for help but giving to everyone who asks and finding a new way to live together.  To do that the price we pay is to love our enemies and work to bring justice to all.
          The price of following Jesus is being a disciple, picking up the cross, and traveling the journey of the Word into flesh.

          Sisters and brothers, we are children of God and heirs of the Kingdom. Thanks be to God. Amen.