Monday, March 4, 2013

It will cost you everything

Luke 18:18-22 And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother. And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up. Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich.
I recall reading of a quote from a great Christian theologian, when asked what the three greatest tenets of Christianity were, he said that it was “humility, humility, humility. All you have to call your own is your sin.”
Christianity will cost you everything. You do not only have to be willing to give God everything, you have to give God everything. You have to give yourself over so much to Him that, if he tells you to sell all that you have, there is no discussion. The Christian life is about giving everything for Christ, and, maybe, in this life, getting nothing in return but death. I have heard sermons on giving everything which end with saying that for doing so you will be greatly blessed, and, don’t worry, God will not tell you to sell everything. They make God to be some sort of genie in a bottle, who has to have everything laid out in front of him so he can multiply it. Tell the early church that, Christians such as Perpetua, when, after giving up lives of immense wealth and status, she was killed in the Arena by a gladiator. Tell that to a man named Paul, once the great learned man, with a position, and ask him, as he was about to have his head cut off, in the city of Rome, if Christianity cost him everything. He was beaten, robbed, left for dead, lashed, and thrown is prison. And yet counted "it but dung, to obtain excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus." ( Philippians 3:7-8)
The fact is Christianity will cost you everything. All is given to God, He is recognized as the owner of everything. That is the only way we can in everything give thanks, by realizing that we have given everything into the hands of God, and that you are only to use anything you may have been entrusted to you as a steward to glorify Him. It is only in this spirit that we can say “If we live we praise You, and if we die, we praise You.” God may not take all of your wealth out of your hands, He may want you to use it for His purposes as the steward. Wealth, used properly to advance the Kingdom of Heaven is not a wrong, but a good thing.
Luke 14:26-35  If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple. Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned? It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

Through His Strength We Will Conquer,
 Andrew C. Abbott

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