Serving the Lord is costly


            “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.  And whoever does not bear his cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.  For which of you intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it—lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish’?” (Luke 14: 26-30.)


            Most people are more loyal to their families and to themselves than they are to Jesus Christ.  Their service to God is conditioned upon it’s noninterference with what they hold most dear.  Jesus used the illustration of a tower under construction as a metaphor for discipleship.  When building anything, the foundation must come first.  Whatever a person is most loyal too, is the foundation upon which their life is built.  In construction, a lot of earth needs to be removed before a person hits bedrock.  Most, in order to dig down deep within their hearts and give their loyalty to Jesus Christ, must first remove those things that stand in the way.  This includes father or mother, wife or children, brothers or sisters, and even themselves.  Anyone who accomplishes the task of making Christ their foundation, must then deny themselves and embrace pain in order to love others.  A disciple undergoes crucifixion every day; their wants and desires are nailed to the cross so Christ may live in their place.  Christ lives because they die; he has risen because they have been buried.  Is a lifetime of self-denial, crucifixion, and service, worth the reward that comes when we finish the race, when we complete the task, when the tower receives it last stone?  A life with Christ takes work.  Sadly many start that work, and after a month, a year, a decade, they walk away; they abandon everything they had sacrificed, to regain a life of their own choosing.  [Jesus is not saying that we are supposed to stop loving our family, what he is saying is, we need to make sure they are no longer our number one priority; rather, Jesus Christ becomes the priority in our lives, and all of our other relationships take their place accordingly.]

            As a child I was constantly starting projects and never finishing them.  I wanted to build a pool, so I dug up my backyard, but abandoned the effort when my mother came home to find a hole in her lawn.  On another occasion, my dear mother came home to find that I had dug a hole in my bedroom ceiling (there was insulation everywhere.)  I thought I could insert a ladder through the hole to the roof and build an observatory up there (I was a unique child.)  As an artist in adulthood, my track record for incompletion continues somewhat today.  I have more than a number of partially completed paintings to my name.  I often become inspired to start a new painting before the one I’m working on is finished.  My inspiration will often lead me to abandon that one in like manner (not always, some I do finish.)  As an adult I found inspiration in novel ideas; I enjoy starting new projects, new hobbies, and new adventures, but often times my enthusiasm is fleeting. 

            Many people today are inspired to attend church, say a prayer, pick up a bible for a short time, but they don’t dig deep enough to make Christ their true foundation.  He becomes some small part of who they are; he is left in a compartment, in some little area of their life, because to bring him in to every area would result in much discomfort.  In building a life with Christ, in being his disciple, there is no half-way, there is no unfinished business.  There will be pain, there will be discomfort, and there will be trouble.  There will be trials, tribulations, turmoil, broken relationships, but you will know a joy, and you will have a peace through these trials.  You are going to have to deny what you want, what pleasure you might seek for yourself, to seek what pleases him.  Sit down; count the cost, ask yourself if you want what he is promising upon completion of a life of discipleship.  But don’t start something you can’t finish.

            “Lord Heavenly Father, we come before You and we ask that You help us to let go of our old lives, to take up Your new life.  Give us the strength to deny ourselves daily, and to endure, and to overcome.  We ask You to be raised to life in our place, that others can see You, and know You, and be loved by You.  Help us to serve You, and to serve others, in love.  We love You Lord, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things in Jesus Christ name, Amen.”  God bless all of you.

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