At All Costs

I have never claimed to be a brilliant accountant. Actually, I have never even
claimed to be a decent accountant. Thinking more about this, and no offense intended to
real-life accountants, but I have never desired to be an accountant at all! Although
numbers generally come easily to me, accounting is simply not my thing. Oh, I can
manage a family budget, and I have some skill with Excel, but accounting is definitely
not my bailiwick. I learned long ago that, while accounting involves numbers and math,
and I am pretty good at numbers and math (not calculus), accounting is its own animal.
Again, just not my thing.
Some things I do understand, however. For instance, I understand the
relationship between cost and benefit. Whenever I invest in something, whether it be an
investment of time, money, or energy (and whether it is something as routine as
groceries, or something with more far-reaching effects such as a vehicle purchase,
commitment to an organization, a house upgrade, a retirement investment, etc.), there is
always a mental calculation: “What will this investment cost, and what will be the
outcome? Will it be worth it?”
I believe that virtually every human being has a grasp on the correlation between
cost and benefit—whether consciously or not. We all make mental calculations when our
time, energy, and money are involved. Some of us are more careful than others, but we
all do a cost/benefit analysis. For a lot of us, that analysis happens in our brains pretty
quickly. For others, it involves a long, meticulous decision-making process. Likely, the
majority of us falls somewhere between those two extremes.
Becoming a Christian is a serious decision that should involve a lot of thinking
and deep consideration. It should involve dedicated focus on cost/benefit analysis. That
may sound a bit antiseptic, but it is certainly true. God has freely given to us his Son, in
order that we may draw near to God. In Jesus Christ, we are granted access to our
Creator God. In Jesus Christ, we are justified. We are sanctified. We are made holy. We
are transformed into the image of God. We are given a new name. We enjoy the benefit
of the peace of God in this life, and the in-person presence of God in the next. We are
guaranteed eternal life.
Yet this free gift came with great cost. It cost God the death of his Son. It cost
Jesus the Son rejection, ostracism, and incalculable pain and suffering. It cost Jesus his
Living as a Christian, therefore, is also a serious decision that should involve a lot
of thinking and deep consideration. The apostle Paul in particular is very clear that God’s
gift was free. Christians are recipients of the gift without being participants in the original
cost. Yet we are called by that same apostle Paul to live in such a way as to be worthy of
that gift (Eph. 4:1), to imitate the sacrificial love of the Giver of the gift (Eph. 5:1), to die
to sin and live for Christ (Rom. 6:11), and to model the life of Christ in the Spirit of God,
through whom the gift came (Rom. 8:9-11).
In short, Christ crucified brought us life. Also, as followers of Christ, Christ
crucified means that we, too, are crucified—to the world, to our passions and desires,
and to our former lives. We are definitely recipients of the benefits. We are called to also
be participants in the cost. -Ricky

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