Matthew – God’s Purposes
Randy computes and pays our yearly taxes. My job is to care for our finances during the rest of the year. I am careful to save all the receipts for Randy to sort through at the end of the tax year. He loves my system of cramming all receipts in one file folder…not! Why sort twice when you’re going to do it at the end of the year is my philosophy. Because I pay the bills monthly and follow a budget as closely as I can, I am constantly computing cost of items in my mind. As I go to the grocery store, I know generally what the cost will be before I get the register to check out.
Living in Bolivia with using B’s (Bolivianos, Bolivian dollars) I must ask, “How much?” constantly, in Spanish, then compute in my head, dividing the amount by 7 so I can realize the cost in US dollars. We have been living here for two months and have two more months to go. What will be troublesome with this new way of thinking is coming home to Kroger and dividing the cost by 7 and wondering why they are charging me full price! Habits are formed, sociologists say, in 21 days. We are well past that!
Our passage today causes me to think about our habits of discipleship when following the King of kings and Lord of lords who we say we believe in, trust with all our hearts and will obey when He calls us to task. Jesus helps those who are following Him around watching Him do miraculous acts of healing while listening intently to His teaching. They want to follow Him, they say. They want to be inside the work with Him, being a part of all the excitement. A particular scribe says he will follow Jesus wherever He goes. So, Jesus, who knows and sees inside their hearts, does a cost analysis of what it takes to follow Him with all that is in us.
Matthew 8, NKJV
The Cost of Discipleship
18 And when Jesus saw great multitudes about Him, He gave a command to depart to the other side. 19 Then a certain scribe came and said to Him, “Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.”
20 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”
21 Then another of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”
22 But Jesus said to him, “Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”
QUESTIONS FOR THOUGHT ABOUT THE COST:
Am I constantly counting the cost of following Jesus before I obey Him? What is my habit when called by Him to follow His leading in small and large tasks that require sacrifice of time, talents and resources? Do I bargain with God the way the man did who wanted to take care of funeral arrangements before following Jesus? In other words, do the things of this world come before Christ?
Jesus is pretty straight forward with His words. His words fulfill the original first and second commandment laws: (Exodus 20)
1. I am the Lord, Your God.
2. You shall NO other gods before me.
Jesus gives meaning with meat in His defining the intent of the law as:
1. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and soul.
2. Love others like I have loved you.
When you put all of this “cost analysis” together you get a clear picture of the cost of discipleship…or following Jesus with all that is in you, leaving the rest of the world stuff behind.
So, is the cost too great? This is what we decide each day. What do you think?
Do we consider the cost too great? Let’s consider what Jesus did for us. Jesus, who is God in human form, left the throne of heaven, laid his glory down to pick up a cross so he could pay the debt of all our sin. He allowed himself to be mocked and leered at while He hung naked in humility on the cross. He had the power to stop the madness but He used that power instead to cling to the cross for you and for me. His love is relentless, unchangeable, unfathomable, so deep and so intimate we cannot truly wrap our heads around it. But when we come close we decide that no cost is so great that we cannot follow the One who died and rose again for each one of us.
For God so loved the world that He GAVE…
How much? You decide.
Dear Heavenly Father,
I’m yours. Thank you, thank you, thank you for saving my soul. Thank you for restoring me time and time again through all the hard times of life. Thank you for allowing me to join you in your work here, right now, today. No cost is so great that compares to the cost you paid to save me. Continue to spur my thinking. Continue to change my habits through your process of transforming me.
In Jesus Name, Amen
I have decided to follow Jesus
I have decided to follow Jesus
I have decided to follow Jesus,
No turning back, No turning back.