I am not the money person/bill payer in our family. We figured out that Shawn is the more “responsible” one in our marriage. I have said many times, “Just because it says ‘due date,’ it doesn’t really mean it has to be paid by then.” Clearly I had to step back and let Shawn take over, and all the utility companies are thankful that I did.
And while he does a great job, we still thought we had some stuff to learn regarding savings, so when Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace class was offered at our church on a night when we didn’t have other obligations, we said, “Why not?”
Dave is all for people having control over their dollars. One of his quotes is, “You’ve got to tell your money what to do, or it will leave.” He thinks every dollar that comes in needs to be assigned a place to go. It’s not something I have completely wrapped my brain around, but it sounds wise. If you have a savings or a stash of money that isn’t designated for bills, it is tempting to splurge and buy a Christmas necklace you don’t need because it feels like free cash. But if that stash has already been marked for a savings plan for the new washing machine you know you are going to need soon, you would have to think a little harder about whether or not you should spend the money.
*But if you decide to buy the Christmas necklace, you can find a super cute one here
Without thinking and planning in advance, it is easy not to pay attention to what something will really cost you.
In our neighborhood Bible study, we just finished up the study of Daniel, through Beth Moore’s series. We learned as early as Daniel chapter 1 that Daniel had resolved to live his life in a way that pleased God. He and his three friends made the decision early on to make choices that lined up with what God wanted for their lives. And when faced with a flaming furnace or a lion’s den, it was already determined that what those unbelievably tough scenarios would cost them, including their lives, couldn’t compare with what losing their devotion to God would cost them.
They counted the costs early on, and resolved to remain faithful to their God.
Jesus told his crowds of people following him the importance of counting the cost in the last ten verses of Luke chapter 14. Until recently, when I read this, I thought how silly it seems to first count the cost of following Jesus. Why count it? Shouldn’t we just say, “I’ll follow Christ no matter what”? But until that’s thought out, those are really just empty words.
If I’m committed to follow Christ while things are easy, saying I’ll follow Christ isn’t a tough one. But when things are harder and it starts costing me more, deciding moment-by-moment whether it is worth it can leave me teeter-tottering, not fully committed.
Is it worth it if God asks me to give up more of my time to serve someone else?
Is it worth it if God asks me to give up money to people whether or not I think they deserve it?
Is it worth it if people think I’m “too religious?”
Is it worth it if God asks me to move to somewhere without a Wal-Mart to tell others about Him?
Is it worth it if someday I have to go against a law to worship God?
Is it worth it if someday it could cost me my life?
Deciding early on that I am committed to God, resolving that in my heart, I can face a situation, even a scary one, with boldness and courage because I already know it will be worth it. No “easy way out” of a pit of lions could compare with losing out on an eternity with God.
Sometimes people (my past-self included) think that God really just wants us to be happy, whatever that takes. That this is what life is about. But that’s not why we are here. Our lives really aren’t about us. And our lives aren’t always going to be easy.
Jesus himself said we are to carry our crosses and follow him. That in no way implies easy. So is it worth it?
Take a few minutes and picture the scenarios that you fear most. Things that might make you question, “Would it be worth it?” And then compare that with the first time you get to see Jesus face-to-face. When you will spend days that never end with no more sickness, no pain, no tears. No more death. When He says to you, “Well done. Come on in!”
Count the cost and see if it’s worth it, and then let’s resolve like Daniel to stand firm no matter what.
“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”