The concept of seemingly innocuous but costly language buried in the fine print is common in the business community. Most of us have learned through hard experience to read each contract thoroughly, paying close attention to the fine print.
But when it comes to following Christ some paint everything with a broad brush not considering there might be hidden costs to our cross-bearing. (Matthew 16:24 & 25)
A young man came to such a moment of truth as he knelt at an altar considering the life-plan God had been speaking into his heart.
He had known since childhood that God intended he would preach the Gospel. As an older teen he was now face to face with the cross tailor-made for him.
In a moment of time it became very real to him that he would lose his girl, his career, his car and his place in the community in which he had grown up. The Holy Spirit being a Gentleman gave full disclosure to the harsh realities the boy would soon face. One cannot successfully walk two paths. He must choose one or the other. And it isn’t that one would be evil and the other a righteous pathway. It was simply inescapable that one choice would please God while the other would please himself.
As the youth mulled his choices one fact became the overweening consideration; He could not bear to be in rebellion against the Lord of his life, no matter what the cost.
One by one he laid the things most important to him on the altar. And life for him was forever altered. In short order the young woman with whom he thought he would share his life realized he had chosen a path she could not walk.
She returned the ring.
The anticipated career came crashing down around him as his resignation reached the desk of management.The beautiful car he had struggled to buy and maintain was stolen, ruined and wrecked.
The circle of friends and influence he had enjoyed so recently quickly vaporized in the face of his announcement that he would be preparing for a life of ministry.
Decades later as life wound down and retirement became an option, the man looked back over his years and realized that yes…there were hidden costs involved with his surrender to Christ so long ago. But God pulled no surprises and buried nothing in life’s fine print. He required only that the young man count the cost, take up his cross and follow Jesus. Therein lies life’s greatest satisfaction. Life has been good for him with career, a loving wife, children, grandchildren and a huge circle of friends.
But someday the man now older and wiser will receive his greatest reward; “Well done thou good and faithful servant. …Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” (Matthew 25:21)
Live for Jesus. It’s worth it!
Richard Orrell, pastor