(From Luke 14)
He warned us at the first: following Him would cost us everything. To the crowds who followed Him, waiting to be fed, clamoring for more miracles, He said, it’s not that easy. You don’t yet know what you are doing. Do you really think you can take up your cross? Have you counted the cost?
Yes, they said, yes, yes! We will follow You. Lead the way!
They followed Him as long as the walk was triumphal.
The cost is everything. And even those of us who think we can pay a price that high, we do not understand.
Some of us think we can throw everything behind us in one wild leap and be done. Some of us think we can give him mostly everything. But the cost is everything, and everything is everything, and that takes a long time to pay.
Many of us won’t, and many of us who think we will, can’t. It’s a high price, and how can we know it will be worth it? How can we bear this? Why would we ever agree to it?
Why would He ever ask this of us?
Because everything is nothing without Him. Because following Him is not about being gratified. It’s about being satisfied. And He never asks us to give up something without giving Himself in return.
And even those who think we can do this, count the cost and give Him everything, we find we must do it over and over.
Surrender is not a one and done deal. We must count the cost, again and again, and hold out our everything in our trembling hands and let Him take it. We must keep holding out those hands, shaky and empty and afraid, and wait for Him to fill them.
And He does. Again and again. And the cost is worth it. In the end we see see it is not a cost at all. Our everything is nothing compared to knowing Him. Yes, it’s painful, bewildering, terrifying to let go of our desires. But following Him always leads to life in the end. Always.
This is why He went first, and we could never pay the cost without Him. He showed us that the way up to our true life is down into death, step by step. He was able to walk into the very mouth of hell because He knew the cost was worth it.
The cost seems high, but the reward is so much higher and better. The alternative will cost you so much more. Everything is nothing in the end. I challenge you to let go of your everything and find that He will give you everything back in Himself. And isn’t this thanksgiving, to look back along the path and see all He gave, when you thought you were the one giving?