Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Cost

When you go into a store to shop are you one of those folks who’s always looking for the best price? Do you buy multiples when it allows you to save a buck or two? Before you buy that new car or pickup or new computer or phone or IPad do you calculate the cost and maybe how long it will take to pay for itself? Do you calculate the overall cost to your budget, to your life?
What about what we’ve heard read today? God calling Moses to lead the people out of Egypt; Paul talking about how Christians should live and behave and serve; and Jesus telling the disciples they must deny themselves, take up their own cross, and follow him. He said, “Whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it?” Everyone must count the cost.
So, my friends, God’s calling you to serve him. Maybe you’ve encountered a burning bush. Maybe you’ve encountered God in the reading of the scriptures and he spoke to you. Maybe Jesus has come to you like he did Paul and given you a particular job to do. Did you count the cost?
Jesus told his friends that he must go to Jerusalem, suffer at the hands of the Pharisees and die. But he would be raised to life on the third day. Jesus knew the cost and it didn’t matter to him.
Peter knew the cost and it did matter to him. He didn’t want Jesus to even talk about it. He didn’t want his friend to die, even if he said he was going to be raised on the third day. The cost was too much for Peter.
My friends, this is a personal question, what is God calling you to do? Has God been tapping you on the shoulder? Has God been pointing something out to you and you’ve been ignoring his call? Is the cost too much?
Friends, what would you give up to make someone’s life better? How far would you go? Would it make any difference if they were family or not, if you liked them or not, if they were a bum or homeless?
What did Jesus give up? He was going to give up his life. What did Peter say when Jesus talked of dying? Put yourself in Peter’s sandals. Jesus heard Peter’s words and spun on him and said, “Get behind me, Satan. You’re a stumbling block to me. You thinking like a human not like God.”
That’s when Jesus began to talk about denying one’s self, picking up a cross and following him. That’s going to cost everything we have. Is the cost too much?
Jesus said, “The Son of Man is coming again in his Father’s glory with his angels and he will reward everyone according to what they’ve done.” Have you calculated the cost benefit ratio for this?
The cost sounds tremendous. Is the benefit eternal life worth the cost? This is what makes the question really personal. We are the only ones who can answer.
God is calling every one of us to serve him. Are we thinking like humans or are we thinking like God?
Jesus is begging us to change, to be transformed, to repent.  He wants us to be more like him.
My friends, I beg you to open your hearts to God and answer his call to serve. The cost is worth everything.

Thanks be to God for his grace. Amen.