Summary: Our involvement in reaching lost people will involve numerous costs, but the benefits outweigh the costs.
A. Life is full of choices, isn’t it?
1. I read a story about a family who was moving cross-country and decided to drive both of their cars in the move.
2. Their 8 year-old son became very worried about this.
3. He asked his father, “How will we keep from getting separated?”
4. His father reassured him, “We’ll drive slowly so that one car can follow the other.”
5. The boy persisted, “Yeah, but what if we DO get separated?”
6. His father, a little irritated quipped, “Well, then I guess we’ll never see each other again.”
7. “Okay,” the boy said, “I’m riding with Mom.”
B. See, life is all about choices and sticking to them.
1. Have you ever really gotten fired up about an idea only to find your enthusiasm fading when you realized the effort it would take to follow through on the idea?
2. We might get fired up about getting into shape until we realize it means going on a diet or getting up earlier to exercise. You ever been there?
3. We might get fired up about saving for retirement until we realize it means cutting out some of our entertainment spending in the present.
4. We might get fired up about approaching the boss to talk about a raise or about unfair things happening in the workplace until we realize that he or she might not appreciate our plea, or might even let us go because of it.
C. We could come up with many other examples, but I think the point is clear: We might have a very noble goal or idea, have a plan in place and sincere intentions to carry it out, but we often still end up not following through.
1. Why is that? What holds us back and keeps us from taking action?
2. Certainly many things may be the cause, but often what’s lacking is a clear understanding of the real costs and rewards.
3. Without this, the plan can sound good but lack the personal motivation to put it into action.
4. Businesses do cost and benefit analysis’s all the time, but in many ways we do to.
5. Each of us does something similar when making a tough choice about which way to turn.
6. Whether we do so on paper or just in our minds, we put all the pros on one side of the ledger and all the cons on the other.
7. This informal analysis helps us choose the course that makes the most sense, and keeps us from abandoning ship when we encounter the costs before we realize any of the benefits.
D. Jesus suggested a similar approach in Luke 14.
1. There he gave two illustrations – one involved constructing a building, and the other about going to war.
2. The lesson in both cases was the same: Before embarking on a project, add up what you’ll have to invest – “what it will cost” – to make sure it’s worth the effort, and to make sure you will be able to follow it through to completion.
E. Now let’s relate these concepts to the goal of Embracing Our Mission.
1. Last week we established the fact that People Matter To God and they ought to matter to us.
2. We also know that apart from Christ they are lost, but their inherent worth to God warrants an all-out search.
3. But has anybody bothered to check to see how much these all-out searches cost?
4. Periodically we hear about a hiker or a hunter who is lost in the woods, or a child or an elderly person who has wandered off, and the police with their helicopters, mounted policeman, and all kinds of volunteers will search for the lost person.
5. These kinds of search and rescue missions are not cheap; not in dollars, effort or time.
6. Apply that illustration to reaching out to the irreligious people around us.
7. Embracing our mission might sound good on the surface, but we don’t have to look very deeply before we realize the actual rescue effort is going to entail significant personal expense.
8. And if that’s true for just one lost person, just imagine the combined tab when we start trying to reach whole families, communities and countries!
F. Certainly, my goal here is not to try to talk us out of Embracing Our Mission, but my goal is that we will be ready to both pay the price and reap the benefits.
1. Understanding both the costs and benefits will go a long way toward helping us follow through with Embracing Our Mission.
2. Rather than beginning with the cost, let’s start with the benefits.
I. The Personal Benefits of Embracing Our Mission
A. It might surprise some that we would even talk about the personal benefits of sharing our faith, after all, it should be about us, right?