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Does God calls everybody to sacrifice greatly to follow Jesus? I believe that God does and that we often rationalize in order to justify our choices. You might not see it that way. But I can share with you our experience and I do this not to boast because if I boast it is in the Lord and what Jesus has enabled me to do and given me the privilege to do.

When we left our hometown to follow Jesus at seminary, Kendra and I left our family and jobs to move to Anderson, Indiana. We basically cut our income in half. But we didn’t even know what that income would be. For two weeks, I drove 2 hours one way to finish my job while Kendra looked for a job, which God did provide. God provided housing for us as well as another couple who moved to go to seminary at the same time. Housing that was very inexpensive but not in a horrible location or some roach-infested hole in the wall. It was small but it was nice and enough.

In seminary I learned about the value of using a budget to track expenses. Something that I use to this day. But the call to sacrifice wasn’t just a one time thing. We were called to New Castle after graduation where our salary put us below poverty level. If it wasn’t for the parsonage, we wouldn’t have made it. Even then, it was financially the hardest year of our lives because we so desperately wanted to give to others financially and through gifts but we just didn’t have any extra to give. God blessed, however, and things improved.

When following Jesus meant that it was time to leave New Castle, we first were candidating at a church of over 200 in another state. Considerable pay increase and isn’t that what pastors often do, we trade up. It was definitely tempting but God wasn’t leading there. We felt God leading here where the pay wasn’t overall as much as where we were at.

We don’t regret any of these choices. Nor do we wish a pat on the back. I only share this to encourage you and I know many of you have sacrificed to continue to count the cost of the discipleship. Through my experience with God, I believe discipleship is a lifestyle of great sacrifice not once but continual. It is a sacrifice that is nothing compared to the great value and honor of being a part of God’s kingdom.

I also wonder how many of us (myself included) would truly be able to sacrifice with joy at the level that so many people in other countries have sacrificed and continue to sacrifice in order to follow Jesus.

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