Jesus told us that before deciding to follow Him we should count the cost (Luke 14:25-34.) Calculate what it will take to do it, and then decide if He is worth it or not. Wondering what type of currency will be involved in this transaction? He gives a few examples.
"Anyone who comes to me but refuses to let go of father, mother, spouse, children, brothers, sisters—yes, even one's own self!—can't be my disciple. Anyone who won't shoulder his own cross and follow behind me can't be my disciple.”
In other words the price is high, astronomical even.
I once was a Christian. The typical kind. I said a prayer, started attending meetings, prayed every morning in tongues for at least an hour, gave my money and time, and read my Bible. Not once did I actually follow Jesus anywhere. Not once did I even touch my cross, let alone pick it up and carry it to the hill.
Thankfully our Father in Heaven loves me so much, that He pushed His way through my religion. He reached out and embraced me, even though I was dirty and did not want a loving God. I wanted to keep him behind the veil.
He extended Grace. I embraced it, then saw that grabbing His hand was only the beginning. He didn’t simply hold my hand and stare into my eyes. No. He pulled on me. He was leading, is leading, me somewhere.
Yet before I committed I had the opportunity to count the cost. I believe (haven’t really thought this one out theologically yet) that if I wanted to I could have refused. I could have deemed the cost too high, and sent an emissary to the king (click the link to the passage in Luke above for that example from Jesus.)
I knew that to do what God wanted me to do I would lose everything. My job. My house. My car. My family. My friends. My religion. My dream of a successful ministry.
To be honest with you I hesitated. In fact even after we moved to Kenya I still tried to hold on to some of those things. It’s not easy following Jesus when you have been following a facsimile of Him your whole life.
Again His Grace was is sufficient for me.
Now that I am on the other side of religion, was it worth it? Some days that is a hard question to answer.
As a missionary it is hard to live outside of organized religion. (Not talking about faith or rituals here, but instead obligation to a man made system designed to curry favor with a god.) Fundraising is difficult outside of the church system. Which means that usually there is less money available. Which leads to smaller scale projects.
Not that bigger is better, but sometimes I sure would like to be able to buy medicine for everyone. I would love to be able to care for more orphaned/abandoned children. I would even enjoy being able to go on vacation, or buy a new t.v.
Yet here we are. Having survived five and a half years so far, and in some regards we are actually thriving. Sure we could use more money, but life is more than cold hard cash. Our family has grown to be something I didn’t even think was possible.
I have craved community so long that I almost didn’t follow Jesus to Kenya because I did not want to lose the church community I was a part of in Texas. I knew it was faulty, and far from what God had in mind when He created the Church, but it was something. I was scared that I would not be able to recreate that or find that here in Kenya.
My fears were not unfounded. It is difficult to create deep meaningful relationships with Kenyans. Their friendships tend to be more shallow and focused on the surface of life.
Still I had hope. I felt or believed that Jesus was serious when he said “whoever leaves mothers, brothers, fathers, houses, etc. for my sake, will receive a hundredfold in this lifetime.”
He meant it. We have a family or community that is greater than anything I have ever experienced before. Everyday we sacrifice for each other. Everyday is a reminder of how Jesus saved us.
Was it worth it?
Yes it was.