My church (illuminate church) was gifted with the book Greater by Steven Furtick so we’re reading through it and Pastor Tim is taking us through the story of Elisha right now (the main character in the book so far). I was helping with kid’s church last week so I need to catch up on the podcast, but today something Pastor Tim said made me stop and think.
Being Greater (not “greatest“, but better than just “good”) requires us to embrace the new and dismiss the old. Sometimes we have to leave the comfortable, the sin, the inner vows (the “I can’t…”), generational curses (divorce, alcoholism…), and yes, sometimes relationships in order to be greater and follow Christ.
“Are we willing to count the cost?” is often a question we ask ourselves, especially in missions. Trust me, I realize the cost of obedience in serving in missions; especially right now as I’m in the midst of saying goodbyes or “until next time” again as I look to move to Africa. It’s something I face every time I go overseas or leave overseas – counting the cost of what I give up to serve my Savior in obedience.
I care deeply for my friends and family. If you know me, you know I have homes in many places and family that’s not blood related. And, while there are layers to my love for people, I am still a loyal person and care for my friends…I just don’t always know how to show it and so people sometimes think I don’t care. So, to let go of those I care for to go serve those I’ve never met for the sake of the Gospel, well, it’s hard sometimes.
Often, Matthew 19:27-30 is my comfort:
“Peter answered him, ‘We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?’
“Jesus said to them,… And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.'”
Today, Pastor Tim asked: “Am I considering the wrong cost? What am I gaining by following Christ?” Wow. How often do I first “count the cost” of what I’m losing and then claim that God is with me and will take care of me. How little I first “count the cost” of what I’m gaining in Christ! Like Esther, I have a choice – do I want to be a part of what God is doing or not? What if I said “Yes!”?
It’s a slight shift in perspective, but a huge one! Stop looking behind and start looking forward. No, not giving up those I love but focusing fully on Christ and His plan, saying with excitement “Yes, Lord! I’m ready to follow with joy! I’m ready to be greater.” Because He who is in me is greater than he who is in the world. (1 John 4:4) I gain Christ, and I don’t lose my friends…I just take them with me. 🙂