PASTOR'S PEN: Count the cost
I enjoy shows where people are looking to gain that edge and make extra money. In some it’s trying to sell an idea for a product or business. In others it’s attempting to purchase an old object or a unit full of objects and sell them for a profit. In each situation someone is looking to gain. They weigh out the cost of production or the purchase itself, restoring or shipping, and then decide if the effort is worth the work and the cost.
Christ encourages the same thing. Just before His death, Peter told Jesus that He would never be killed. Jesus quickly put down that idea saying, “…you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” Peter’s mind wasn’t on the bigger picture of what God was going to do through the death of Jesus Christ. His mind was on the immediate difficulty and sorrow of that moment. Jesus Christ knew the cost, but also knew the reward would be much greater and well worth it.
Jesus then said to the rest of His disciples, “Whoever wants to be My disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for Me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in His Father’s glory with His angels, and then He will reward each person according to what they have done” (Matthew 16:23-27).
A missionary named Jim Elliot not only knew that truth, but lived it. He willingly went to a people who knew nothing of Jesus Christ so they could hear the gospel. In doing so he gave his own life. Seven years earlier Elliot had written this statement in his journal, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”
Are you giving what you cannot keep for the unperishable rewards of heaven? Or are you so busy holding onto the things of this world that will pass away that you are turning down the rewards of heaven that will never pass away? (1 John 2:17) It’s vital that you sit down and count the cost.