Summary: Everything has a price.

“The Journey of a Lifetime: Everything Has a Price”

Mt. 21:1-11

A teenaged boy – let’s call him Fred – with great academic potential was unable to go to college because he could not afford it. But one day Fred received a call from the college to which he had applied – a new scholarship had been established and he had been chosen as the recipient. His tuition, room, & board would be paid. He was ecstatic. Only later did Fred learn that the money for the scholarship came from a memorial fund established in memory of another teenager – who was tragically killed when run over by a drunken driver. Fred went to college at the expense of her life. EVERYTHING HAS A PRICE.

The following letter to the editor appeared in the Grand Rapids Press 12 years ago – it was written by a 19 year old Kenowa Hills High School student: “I am a 19-year old from the Dinka Tribe in Sudan in Africa. Because of war my parents were killed and my sisters, brothers, and I were separated. I was in refugee camps for 13 years…While in the camps I lived with thousands of other refugees. We suffered greatly from lack of food, water, medicine, shelter, and security. It was difficult to stay alive. At least two or three refugees died every day. Most of these refugees were children. The war in Sudan has killed 2.5 million people, all because of the north’s intolerance of Christianity. If the world would support tolerance and help the refugees like the U.S. tried to do, maybe we would have peace. The United States is tolerant. It helps weak countries and the poor. I know because they helped me. That is why I am here. My life here is so much better than before. Now I think about what I will do in the future, instead of who might kill me today, or what I will have to eat. While in Africa I saw and knew only war…I believe that no countries were free. Now, I know better. I have finally found freedom in the United States. I did not know it was possible…” James is free – but only because thousands of Americans offered their lives, many to the point of death, to defend and preserve our freedom. EVERYTHING HAS A PRICE.

The renowned pianist Paderewski , after finishing a brilliant concert, was told by an admiring woman, Sir, you are a genius,” to which he responded, “Madam, before I was a genius, I was a drudge,” His brilliance came through death – that is, hard work and self-denial. The famous runner Jim Ryun, who set a world record for the mile when he was eighteen years old, said this about his training, “I would run until I felt I couldn’t take another step, then I would run until I felt my lungs were going to burst. When I got to that state, then I would run until I thought I was going to pass out. When I did this, I was making progress.” (1) EVERYTHING HAS A PRICE.

Throughout this Lenten season and series we’ve been following Pilgrim on his journey to the Celestial City. It’s been an adventuresome, but trouble-filled journey. From the moment he decided to get rid of his burden of sin by walking the narrow road, he began making difficult choices and confronting overwhelming obstacles. He left his family, friends, and home behind. He fell into the slough of despond, he battled Apollyon (Satan), was imprisoned in Vanity Fair where his companion Faithful was put to death, and then was imprisoned in Doubting Castle where only the Key of Promise freed him. Every step of the narrow way required Pilgrim to stay focused on the straight, narrow, hard way. As we’ll see next week, Pilgrim will make it to Celestial City – but only after paying a price. EVERYTHING HAS A PRICE.

Charles Spurgeon aptly wrote, “God often takes away our comforts and our privileges in order to make us better Christians. He trains his soldiers, not in tents of ease and luxury, but by turning them out and using them to forced marches and hard service. He makes them ford through streams, and swim through rivers, and climb mountains, and walk many a long mile with heavy knapsacks of sorrow on their backs.” (2) EVERYTHING HAS A PRICE.

The nation of Israel was mired in intolerable, unbearable slavery. God heard their cry and led them out of Egypt in to the Promised Land. Of course, every Israelite family had to kill a perfect lamb and spread its blood on their doorpost, and every Egyptian family witnessed the death of their first-born son. Blood had to be shed for freedom. EVERYTHING HAS A PRICE.

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