As 2015 wrapped up, I often thought about the cost of following Jesus. Initially, my thoughts surprised me because I had not thought about this topic for some time, but it made sense that it arose again. It was like having a friend drop by unexpectedly. You are surprised at first, but after you chat with this friend, you realize how necessary his visit was.
It’s been three years since I read Matthew 16:24-28 and Luke 14:25-33 regularly. I vividly remember reading the passage in the Summer of 2012 in my church’s parking lot as I sat in the green car my parents let me borrow. I thought about the verses randomly throughout the day, and sometimes, my mind wandered in the middle of a conversation, pondering what those words really asked of me.
I thought about some of the things we forsake to follow Jesus, both the most precious and the not as precious: approval from people, friends, family members, jobs, homes, vehicles, possessions, anything that makes us feel secure, and our lives. Each time I think about what is most precious to me right now, I wonder if I really can lay those things down when the time comes. I want to, but will I follow through?
There is always another step Christ requires of us. I have said yes to him along the way, whether it was to moving to a new city, befriending a stranger, or helping someone in need, but I hope I continue to say yes, and I pray for the same strength and courage Christ modeled for us, so that when the time comes, I will joyfully say yes without reservation (Hebrews 12:2).
Perhaps you have already said yes to following Jesus. You may have been nervous or afraid, or faced condemnation from the people you love most, but you said yes anyway. Perhaps that response has come with a great price, and the journey has not been easy. I have a word of encouragement. The Lord is so pleased that you have said yes. He thanks you for service, your sacrifice and your devotion. He wants you to continue to say yes, and for many of you, the fuel for that yes originates in your love for him, Christ’s testimony and the miracles that unraveled every other time you said yes in the past.
What is the Lord asking you to say yes to today? Some of his requests may not require you to embark on a new journey that involves a new job, new city, or new endeavor. He wants you to say yes to being a witness right where you are. To your coworker, best friend, relative, or the teenager who pours your Starbucks coffee. For others, that yes is a bit heavier. It involves a complete transition in your life. Regardless of Christ’s request, will you joyfully say yes?