Summary: Following Christ may $$$$(cost) you the dearest thing you possess
A modern day Rip Van Winkle fell asleep and woke up in the year 2076. Immediately, he rushed to a phone booth to call his brokerage firm. They found his portfolio and reported, “Your Walmart stock is worth $50 million. Your AT&T stock is worth $62 million. And your Microsoft stock is worth $120 million.” The man was hysterical. “I’m rich! I’m rich! About that time the operator interrupted him and said, “I’m sorry, sir, but your three minutes are up. Please deposit $1 million for the next three minutes.”
Most people today are interested in the cost of living. People want to know how they can get the most for their money.
They have limited resources, unlimited desires, and they want to know what the risk is versus the anticipated return. In finance the idea of risk versus return is called risk analysis. While risk analysis is a contemporary term, it is not a new concept. In Jesus day, people were asking the same questions people are asking today.
What does it cost? Is it worth it?
Jesus met a young man one day who wanted to know the cost of eternal life. Look with me at the gospel of Luke 18:18-30.
This young man was, in all probability, the epitome of what a young Jewish man was supposed to be.He was the guy that you hope your daughter brings home. He was young and wealthy. It was considered a sign of God’s good favor to be a man of wealth. He was also diligent in his pursuits. When Jesus asked him concerning the law he replied that he had been faithful in every aspect of the law since his childhood. We don’t know why the young man pursued Jesus, but we get some idea of his earnestness from Mark’s account. Mark says that as Jesus was setting out on a journey this young man ran after, came and knelt at Jesus feet.
He must have believed that the answer to what he sought was available from Jesus, so he asked “What shall I do to inherit eternal life.?”
Today he would have asked, “What will it cost me to follow You?” Jesus’ answer demolished this young man. He replied, “One thing you still lack; sell all that you possess, and distribute it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come and follow Me.”
Now that ought to raise a serious dilemma in your mind. Was Jesus saying that to follow Him we must give away all of our possessions? Must we dispossess ourselves of everything we have worked for in order to follow Christ? I don’t believe that this is what He was saying. But, I do believe that Jesus saying, “Following Me will cost the dearest thing you possess” (v. 23).
When I was in my early thirties, I was involved in a Bible study and discipleship program using material that was produced by the Navigators. If you were in the service, you may have encountered something like that. In this program we were required to read our Bibles every day and underline or highlight the verses that seemed particularly significant. When we concluded our daily Bible reading we would select one or two verses that seemed most significant and we recorded our thoughts concerning what this verse seemed to be saying to us. I still use this process today. It is astounding when you read God’s Word and look for those verses that God seems to direct your way, how often a pattern develops and you can understand God’s will. Too many people today disregard God’s Word and therefore they are not in tune with God’s will.
By consistently recording verses that seemed to apply to me life, I became convinced that God was speaking to my life through His Word. It was an incredible revelation to me that God would stoop ... would condescend ... to speak so personally and so consistently and so profoundly to me. For the first time in my life, I was having an intimate relationship with God. It was an absolutely amazing discovery that God had something to say to me.
During this time, I seemed to be continually recording verses about witnessing, being a minister, a priest, preaching the gospel.
This caused me to be concerned that I might be manipulating what I was recording. Eventually, became convinced that God was calling me to a vocational ministry. Imagine my concern. Here I was, some thirty-three years old, with a career, a family, a home, and all the things associated with early middle age.
Yet, God seemed to be leading me to take a drastic turn in my life. I sought counsel from pastors and other ministers to try to determine if what was happening was valid. They encouraged me to continue with reading and recording God’s Word to me. One day the information flow came to a screeching halt. As I was reading, I came to a verse that stopped me dead in my tracks and I literally felt as if someone had slammed a door on me.