Counting The Cost (Again)
I thought I had waved a cheerful goodbye to all these things before, but perhaps that was a sham.
Now, I have really said goodbye: to my parents, knowing I may never see them alive again; to my current residence, suspecting I may never be welcome home again; to my job, realising that taking time out at this time is tantamount to career suicide; to the most wonderful set of colleagues one could ever hope for; to any expectation of ever having the security of my own place or living a modest comfortable life; to living for self.
It’s not as if I’ve had a divine epiphany, or a personal “calling” involving lights at night and men in glowing white nighties, or that I think I am one of the chosen few asked to “sacrifice” and “surrender” for some special reward. I am not made more holy or brought nearer to some sort of nirvana because of this.
This decision is merely an act not different from what is expected of any Christian:
22 And he said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.” 23 Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. 25 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? 26 Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. (Luke 9)
And this is what is promised to all Christians – the church family as replacement (+ added persecution) in this life and eternal life in the next:
26 The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?”
27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”
28 Then Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow you!”
29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” (Mark 10)
Q: Isn’t this a little too extreme(ist)?
Well, it depends if this decision is based on a truth or a lie. If it is based on the truth, then what could be too extreme? If the theory of gravity was true (and we are quite sure it is!), would you accuse someone of being too extreme if they required aviation engineers and pilots be well-trained?
Q: So is Christianity true?
It sure seems to be – historical evidence and amazing internal Scriptural consistency points that way.
If the God of the Bible is real, Jesus is really the Son of God, there will really be a judgement day, believing in Jesus is the only way to be saved from God’s judgement, and believers, though saved from hell, will still be judged for their obedience to the truth that they know and the relationship they claim.
And so there will need to be people warning others about this Day and telling them how to be saved. And these heralds and messengers must make every effort to ensure that they too do not stray from the right path and that they carry the message faithfully and clearly.