What Shopping Taught Me about Following Jesus

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There’s a basic principle I learned a long time ago when it comes to buying stuff…

You get what you pay for.

The idea is that if you pay a lot for something, it will be worth the cost.

(Really this isn’t rocket science…in our society, you generally have to pay more for things that are made better or will last longer than things that are made cheaply, whether it’s a pair of shoes or a car).

But, what if we applied this principle to following Jesus?

The Bible says that salvation is a free gift from God, but it also says that it’s going to cost you something.

So, how can both be true?

Salvation is a free gift from God (see Ephesians 2:8-9).

Only God can make anything dead come to life…

And, the Bible says that we’re dead because of our sin.  (Ephesians 2:1)

So, God does what only God can do and gives us life.

Salvation is free…

following Jesus is not free.

Following Jesus will cost you.

Jesus makes that clear when He is talking to the crowds about following Him in Luke 14…

“Don’t begin until you count the cost.”

Later in that same scene, He says…

“No one can become my disciple without giving up everything for me.”

Turns out that following Jesus comes with a cost.

It may cost you relationships.

It may cost you time.

It may cost you money and possessions.

It may even cost you your life.

Following Jesus isn’t cheap.

But, we make it cheap when we sacrifice little or nothing and call ourselves “Christians.”

Maybe it’s time for you to “count the cost” of following Jesus.

Maybe it’s time for you to realize that you get what you pay for when it comes to following Him.

God’s free gift of salvation wasn’t cheap…

The value that we put on following Jesus shouldn’t be cheap either.

What is it costing you to follow Jesus today?

26 “If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. 27 And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple.  28 “But don’t begin until you count the cost.  (Jesus in Luke 14)

What are your monuments?

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Monuments.

Typically, we think of monuments as things to see…

Destinations that we put on a bucket list and hope to check off someday.

Mount Rushmore.

The Eiffel Tower.

The Statue of Liberty.

Stonehenge…

All of these monuments were built by people.

All of them represent years of sacrifice and hard work.

All of them remain standing years after they were completed.

But, they won’t last forever…

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What if we thought of monuments as people rather than as things?

Jesus did.

For a little over three years while he was on the earth, Jesus invested in people.

Crowds often followed him.

But, it was his closest friends that he spent the most time with…the ones that we know as the twelve apostles…that would eventually spark the birth of Christianity.

Think about Jesus’ closest friends (especially Peter, James, & John) as his monuments.

Now think about this…

Today, over two billion people world-wide identify themselves as “Christian” for religious purposes.

What started with a relatively small number of people that believed in and followed Jesus has grown into the largest religion in the world today.

And, all Christians—past, present, and future—are really “monuments” of Jesus’ original investment in those twelve guys.

What are your monuments?

What are you investing in?

Are they things that will eventually wear out and fade away?

Or, are they people who you can make a difference in for eternity?

Building into the lives of people is the best investment you can make…these are the monuments that are worth leaving behind.

Who will you invest in today?

19 “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. 21 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.”  (Matthew 6:19-21)  (NLT)

How Desperate Are You?

Desperate.

Not exactly a word that we like to use to describe ourselves.

When we’re desperate, we’re usually…

…at the end of our rope.

…out of options.

…stuck.

Bottom line…when we’re desperate we need help.

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Jesus tells a story of a desperate woman in Luke 18 to make a point about prayer.

This woman was so desperate that she was able convince a heartless judge to give her justice.

She had no one else to turn to…nowhere else to go…she needed help.

And, the judge was her only hope.

The point of this little story is to make us think about how we approach God in prayer.

How desperate are we when we pray?

Do we really understand our need for God like that woman understood her need for justice?

Or, have we grown comfortable with the idea that we don’t need Him that much?

Too often we give up on prayer because we’re not desperate enough for God to act.

So, we choose to believe lies like…

“God can’t do anything about this…”

“God obviously doesn’t care about…”

“God doesn’t understand…”

And, we give up on prayer.

But, the truth is…

Nothing is impossible for God.  (Luke 1:37)

God cares about you enough to say to you, “I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:29-30)

He understands you because He knows you better than anyone.  (Psalms 139:1)

Giving up on prayer is giving up on God.

And, He really is your only hope.

Are you desperate enough to keep on praying?

“Search for the Lord and for his strength; continually seek him.”  (Psalms 105:4)