I still remember the times in my childhood when I happened to be around a TV and the show “Let’s Make a Deal!” would be on the air (my parents have never owned a television). I was amazed at the idiotic things people would do just to be able to be chosen as a contestant. I’m even more amazed to know that after all these years the show is still on and people are still doing outrageous things to get on the show.
During one of our recent walks together, Glenda & I had a conversation that caused me to remember this show. No, we were not talking about TV or anything like that, rather, we were talking about the cost of following God’s call. We have often been told that we have paid a high price as a result of our calling, for we gave up the comfort of “home,” the day-to-day familial interaction, a wonderful pastor and home church. I could continue, but you get the idea. Truthfully, while it started out feeling like we had given up a lot, we have come to the conclusion that our sacrifices are small compared to what He gave for us. The life of a missionary is one of giving. It’s simply what we do.
I just finished reading a book about the Finnish Winter War (by the way, if you enjoy wartime history, this is a topic worth your time). During this war, the Soviet Union often outnumbered the Finns by 5:1, 10:1, even 20:1 or 30:1. The price that the Finns paid to hold on to their freedom was incredible. They withstood wave after wave of attacks where, at times, landmarks were changing hands 4-5 times a day. They would have little rest as the Soviets continually replaced the fallen attackers. There were several reports of soldiers mentally snapping because of the useless carnage they were forced to endure, and also stories of the soldiers crying as they fired their weapons into the wall of the approaching enemy. In the end, “Little Finland” withstood one of the largest armies of its day with little outside help. They watched as their beautiful woodlands were pulverized into a powdery mixture of snow, wood chips, and rock.
They understood the cost of their battle. They defied the odds. Many times, they fought tanks with only rifles and grenades. They started each day with the grim realization that even after they gave their all, they may still be unsuccessful in holding the enemy back. The watched as their ammunition ran low, yet they fought on. They grudgingly relinquished ground by inches where others would have given up yards. They faced tanks with machine pistols and won. They understood the cost. It took a heavy toll on the country. It almost destroyed their economy. They lost 25,000 square miles of land, and 70,000 (population was less than 4 million) were either killed or wounded in 105 days. They understood the cost. They watched as other nations were swallowed up by the Soviets. They saw the atrocities of the Stalinist purges. They knew what would happen if they did not withstand the enemy. The benefit of their willingness to pay the price can be seen by simply looking at any former Soviet bloc country.
Why go through the history lesson? Well, many times as a Christian, we fail to count the cost. We look at something we feel worthwhile and get involved without realizing the price that we will pay. We look at life like it a game show. “Let’s see what we can get for nothing!” So many times, we even do idiotic things to try to not pay the price for our dream.
Luke 14:28-30 (KJV)
28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?
29 Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him,
30 Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.
Have you counted the cost? Many times, this subject is viewed from a negative viewpoint. Admittedly, it is likely that after reading this, your thoughts have placed you in that frame of mind. Are you wondering if the price is too high? Are you wondering if it is worth it? Let me point you to another scripture:
Matthew 13:44-46 (KJV)
44 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.
45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls:
46 Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.
Have you found the “pearl of great price?” Do you know where the “treasure hidden in the field” is located? If you do, then the price does not matter.
I have found my pearl. My Jesus paid the ultimate price. He died for you and me so that we may live, and I gladly give my all to Him. Why? Because I have counted the cost and decided that eternity with Jesus is worth any battle, any trial that may come my way.
I’m not willing to risk my reward by trying to make a deal. I don’t want to know what is behind “Door #3,” for I have found a “sure thing,” not a gimmick. I will pay the price, and it will be well worth any prize I am presented.
(Book information: A Frozen Hell by William R. Trotter)