How About the Cost?

Think about our song, “True hearted, whole hearted”—it sends a message to the core of our being. How far do we take it? What about the cost?

Before the fall of the Iron Curtain and the break up of the Soviet Union, Premier Nikita Khrushchev addressed the Supreme Soviet on the human rights violations committed by the former Premier Joseph Stalin. While he was speaking, someone sent a note to the speaker’s platform that read: ““What were you doing when Stalin committed all these atrocities?”

Khrushchev shouted, “Who sent up this note?” Silence filled the room. None of the delegates stirred.

The premier bellowed, “I’ll give him one minute to stand up!”

Everyone was afraid to stand up and be counted. Everyone was afraid of the cost.

The seconds ticked off. The hall remained silent and the delegates motionless in their seats.

“All right, I’ll tell you what I was doing. I was doing exactly what the writer of this note is doing–exactly nothing! I was afraid to be counted!”

Standing up to be counted under the Communist dictator would have required the ultimate sacrifice. Joseph Stalin was ruthless. He would execute his critics without a second thought. He allowed over 2 million Ukrainians to die of starvation because they would not agree to live in communes. Khrushchev and the other Soviet Communists knew that challenging Stalin would cost them their lives. And they were not willing to pay that price.

Sometimes giving your heart means giving your life.

How committed to Christ are we willing to be? How willing to stand up and be counted when the price might be our life?

Think how the disciples felt when they first realize what was going to happen to Jesus. 

Matthew 16:21–26 21From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.

Could it be? Could it be real? We can’t hardly blame Peter for his response. Sometimes he spoke first, and thought second—like us.

22Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!”

Jesus knew it would be real. He turned and said to Peter,

23“Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”

It may have seemed a hard reaction, but God’s way is not always ours. Jesus had to face the supreme test, and Peter was not seeing it God’s way. So Jesus went on to explain.

24Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.

Jesus as much as said, you will be tested too, Peter. Expect it.

25For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.

In other words, be ready to sacrifice, ready for the test. Why? It is the greatest GAIN!

25For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.

26For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

Jesus said it again in Luke 14, from another standpoint.

Luke 14:25–33  25Now great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them, 26“If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.

Was this the same person who had said, Love your neighbor as yourself?

To our ears, Jesus’ words are shocking. “Hate” has such a strong connotation. When used, the term is usually accompanied by strong emotions. “I hate you!” is the beginning of a message laced with a venomous, vindictive spirit. This is not Jesus’ intention or meaning.

Eastern language is vivid as the human mind can make it but not literal. When Jesus tells us to hate our nearest and dearest, he does not mean that literally. When we look at the meaning of “hate” as used here, it means to “love less.”

William Barclay comments, “He means that no love in life can compare with the love we must bear to him.” A disciple of Jesus Christ refuses to allow anything to take a greater priority than service to God. One’s career and vocation in life must not be allowed to conflict with the values and ethics required for the Kingdom of God. This is the price we must be willing to pay. This is the cost of discipleship.

27And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.

33So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.

His next statement explains it: The Kingdom must be first and everything else, second. It will be worth it, ALL of it!

Another point, we often hear, You get what you pay for. The common idea of salvation “full and free” because Jesus did it all—what is the cost to us? Almost nothing. Doesn’t that tell us something about the value?

Jesus said “Count the cost”—because real value would have real cost. But isn’t it worth it? Remember, it is for ETERNAL LIFE. What cost could ever come close?

Considering the value we are getting, the cost is nothing at all.

It will be worth it ALL!