Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Counting the Cost

“For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?” Luke 14:28

There is an old saying that has taken many forms. You may have heard it expressed something like, “if it is worth having it will cost you something.” There is, of course, much truth contained in this maxim. Sadly, we live in a world where people often try to get “something for nothing.” A tragic and, unfortunately, common characteristic of many is that they want the whole world handed to them on a silver platter, but they aren’t willing to put forth any effort to obtain anything of worth.

If one is not careful, this concept of entitlement can sneak its way into many areas of life, including one’s spirituality.

It is absolutely true that we cannot earn the blessings of God by our works. However, there is still a great deal of value in qualities such as commitment, hard work, loyalty, and integrity. It is true that we sometimes walk through doors God has opened into blessings we could never deserve. It is equally true that many of the accomplishments we make in the kingdom of God and many of the victories in battles that we face are inextricably linked to our faithfulness, persistence, and dedication. One of God’s most enigmatic qualities is that He seems to relish the sacrifices that are made by His people. The reason for this is not because of any benefit to Him (we can’t give God anything that He couldn’t get on His own if He desired), but because He delights in the development of our character.

There ought to be something within us that compels us to give our very best to God without thought of receiving anything in return. We ought to be driven to be honest, to finish what we begin, and to be faithful regarding our promises and commitments to God and men. We must be continually cognizant of the fact that there is, indeed, a cost to be incurred in a life of service to God. This is a profound paradox, but it is true, nonetheless.  God grants unmerited favor, but there is a still a price to be paid.

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