“I’m sorry, but we don’t have the size of car you reserved. I only have cars three grade levels higher. We do have some nice SUVs on the lot.”
“But we got such a good deal online. And we really don’t want to pay the cost of that bigger car. After all we need it for three weeks.”
“Oh, no problem! You can have the bigger car for the same price. No extra cost for the upgrade.”
We couldn’t believe our good fortune… the blessing of a great car and a great price!
Bargains are wonderful. I’m always checking on the sale rack for a good buy. But I get weary of people who seem to make it their goal in life to tell everyone what a deal they got… the best price… the lowest price. It’s almost a badge of honor they insist on wearing for all to see!
There was a man waiting in line to register at the same motel as I was. He went on and on and on about what a great rate he got. Finally he asked me what I was paying. It was more than his bargain, but I just couldn’t bring myself to add to his glee. I just pretended I didn’t hear the question.
Even worse is to be at a party or reception and hear the host or hostess lamenting on the price they were paying for my enjoyment. “You have no idea what this cost me!” or “This cost me a fortune! But no matter. I didn’t want to spare any expense. Nothing’s too good for my….” (Fill in the blank with “my friends” or “my little girl” or whatever.)
Though they mean to sound generous, their mind is only on their bank account. Solomon talks about such people in his Book of Proverbs: “Do not eat the food of a begrudging host, do not crave his delicacies; for he is the kind of person who is always thinking about the cost. ‘Eat and drink,’ he says to you, but his heart is not with you” (23:6-7). When you think of the type of people who fawned over Solomon, trying to impress him with their extravagance, one can only imagine his level of disgust.
Some costs are greater than financial ones. There is the cost of friendship… something we do that ruins a relationship. Or perhaps because we choose to befriend someone, others reconsider their friendship with us. It reminds me of the accusations thrown at Jesus when he chose to eat with public sinners.
Other choices can cost us our reputation… our good name. Or even cost us our life!
We all know about the cost of living and how it can vary according to our geographic location. But there is another cost of living… the cost of living for Jesus… the cost of discipleship.
Jesus tells us that there is a cost to following Him. We must be willing to give up anything and everything if necessary for the life that follows Him.
And at the same time He asks us to carry our cross. Today we understand that to mean we must deal with burdens and discomforts and even suffering. Perhaps it had even greater significance to the people who heard it right from Jesus’ lips. After all, crucifixion was a reality back then, not just a metaphor.
But at the same time, my Lord freely offers so much more. As far back as Isaiah’s writings, the concept of grace… free with no cost… permeated the scriptures when God said I don’t need money for the food and drink my soul so desperately craves (55:1). And then at the very end of His Holy Word He once again reminds me that this free, thirst-quenching grace comes “from the spring of the water of life” (Rev. 21:6). The cost to me for my salvation is…. nothing!
But what about God? What did it cost him? God SO loved the world that it cost Him His only Son!
And this great deal that I got cost Jesus a bundle! Look what He gave up to come to this earth. It cost Him His status. The recognition by all of heaven that He is truly God’s Son to be worshipped and glorified was lost on this world full of deniers.
In the end it cost Him His life. And it wasn’t a bargain, even though Satan offered him “a deal” if He would just give up His mission. He could have even lessened the pain and suffering there on the cross. But He turned His head and refused.
He paid the full retail price. It was the cost of loving. It’s what the life He bought for me is all about. Abundant life here on this earth and forever with Him in heaven.
I don’t get a half-way deal that somehow I have to make up the difference.