Political debate is currently dominated by arguments over the cost of living. Unemployment is falling and there are other signs of economic recovery. But with costs rising and incomes staying the same, people are still feeling the pinch. Things aren’t helped by the fact that some of the big energy supply companies have recently announced hefty price rises. It’s not for me to use this post to sketch out my solution to this problem. Sadly I don’t have one. That’s the job of politicians, not pastors. But talk of the ‘cost of living’ got me thinking of some words of Jesus.
Some charlatan preachers might tell people that becoming a Christian is the route to an easy life, but Jesus made it clear that there is a cost involved in following him, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24). For some that may involve losing their life for Christ’s sake. On Sunday 22nd September two suicide bombers headed for All Saints Church, Peshawr, Pakistan and blew themselves up. Eighty five members of the congregation were slaughtered in what was the deadliest ever attack on Christians in the country.
Thankfully, Christians don’t face such dangers here in the UK, but living for Jesus is still costly. It involves devoting the whole of our lives to his service. Yes, Christians gather for worship on a Sunday, but following Jesus means more than that. Going to church on a Sunday is meant to equip believers to serve the Lord throughout the week. English Missionary to China C. T. Studd had it right when he said, “If Jesus Christ is God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him." That’s the cost of living for Jesus. Are you willing to pay the price?
* From November's News & Views, West Lavington Parish Magazine.