Wednesday: Comparing Costs
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Corporations explore the viability of proposed projects through cost-benefit analysis. Do specific proposals contain the ingredients necessary for bringing successful returns on investments? Does benefit outweigh outlay? Another frequently used measurement is durability. Does the proposal offer sustainable returns?

Image © Krieg Barrie from GoodSalt.com

Image © Krieg Barrie from GoodSalt.com

The rewards of discipleship may likewise be measured through comparison with costs. Those costs may include emotional suffering, social rejection, physical torture, financial deprivation, imprisonment, and death itself. Everyone who undertakes discipleship should first consider carefully the investments involved.

What do the following texts tell us about some of the costs of discipleship? Matt. 18:8-9, Luke 6:35, Phil. 2:3.

What do the following texts say about the benefits? Luke 18:28-30, John 14:1-3, Rev 22:1-5.

There is no question that the cost of following Jesus can be high, perhaps the costliest thing that anyone can do. Indeed, we should question the reality of our faith and our commitment if following Christ hasn’t cost a lot, maybe even everything.

But one thing is sure: whatever we gain in this life, whatever we accomplish, whatever we make for ourselves, it is only temporary. It is something that will not last. It will vanish and vanish forever.

In contrast, what we gain through Jesus-eternal life in a new heaven and new earth-is by far worth more than anything and everything that this world could ever offer us.

Think through all the pleasures, all the joys and good things of this world here and now. What are they in comparison to eternity with Christ? How can we learn always to keep this contrast before us? Why is it important that we do?

 

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Wednesday: Comparing Costs — 13 Comments

  1. [Please use first and last names when commenting on this site. Thanks!]
    I agree with today's lesson as it coincides with some strong decisions I have made in my life this week. I am a backslider who left church few years back (2008) but I have decided to go back to Christ. I know He has forgiven me and I am ready to sacrifice my life, my time, resources etc for his gospel. Folks, there is no valuable reward you can get from doing something other than sacrificing yourself for His cause. I am in the process of doing that. Whoever reads this post please I need your prayers.

    Like(48)
    • In the name of Jesus I request the Spirit of The Lord to enable Jeff in his NEW life. Lord, defeat every challenge against your will, permit a multitude of angels to excel on his behalf. With many thanks we consider this request done in Jesus' name.

      Like(32)
    • Jeff you are in my prayers O beloved Saint of God. May God continue to guide and strengthen you in this walk. I declare Isaiah 57:14-21 over your life, In Jesus' name, Amen!

      Like(11)
    • For backslider. I am praying for you. Please try to keep focused on Christ. Welcome back brother. God bless you.

      Like(10)
  2. Jeff the decision u made is the best move u have have made. I pray that u start growing upon that grace that has found u again. James 2:20 to be of value, there must be coupled with faith that courage of conviction, which impels to action. May grace and peace be multiplied unto u and your family through Jesus Christ our Lord.

    Like(7)
  3. It is because this "hope does not disappoint" (Rom 5:5). The contrast lays squarely before us the hope. The hope which Isaiah and the Prophets clung to, the hope which Tyndale and Huss beheld.Its this hope that Paul contrasts with our sufferings that " For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." Rom 8:18

    Like(11)
  4. There is nothing in this life, that can be compared to the things that God is preparing for those that love Him. 1 Cor. 2:9 states it very clearly, ''Eye has not seen, nor ear heard Nor have entered into the heart of man, the things God has prepared for those who love Him''. This is such a huge ''reward'' that it is incomprehensible and maybe unthinkable, but is a real promise and reality. Something enormous to look forward to with great anticipation.

    Like(9)
  5. The second to the last paragraph in the lesson states, "In contrast, what we gain through Jesus-eternal life in a new heaven and new earth-is by far worth more than anything and everything that this world could ever offer us." This statement raises two questions in my mind, the first one I would like to consider in this comment and the second in the next.

    The first is, "What are we actually promised concerning Heaven?" We have varying descriptions in scripture of the future life, each one being a little different. Ellen White also was given vivid visions of Heaven. Most Christians home in on the New Jerusalem with its streets of gold and pearl entrances and envision a life of ease and wealth.

    While I don't want to diminish those dreams of eternity perhaps a more realistic vision is that of Isaiah, "They shall build houses and inhabit them; They shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. They shall not build and another inhabit; They shall not plant and another eat; For as the days of a tree, so shall be the days of My people, And My elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands. They shall not labor in vain, Nor bring forth children for trouble; For they shall be the descendants of the blessed of the LORD, And their offspring with them" (Isa. 65:21-23 NKJV). But even with this promise we need to think in terms of the times it was written in and what it meant to build and another inhabit. Isn't the purpose of the New Earth to bring us back to the state of things before the fall in Eden when there was no sin and they freely talked with God and the angels where they tended to what God had created as stewards of His creation with dominion and authority?

    To me the bottom line is what 1 Cor 2:9 says that we really don't know what it will be like because we have nothing to reference it to. What I do know is that Jesus will be there and there won't be any selfishness wanting to put me down just so someone can get ahead. The government will be for the people just as the Sabbath is (Mk 2:27) where everyone has real freedom and dreams can come true. To me that is what I can relate to even though, obviously, other things will be there also; things beyond my understanding and conception.

    Like(5)
  6. The second question is, "Am I doing what Jesus commands in order to go to Heaven?" While the visions of Heaven give us something to hope for are they the driving force behind why I am a Christian? Am I in some kind of a contractual relationship with Jesus that like the old covenant if I do what I am commanded Jesus will reward me like a good puppy that learns his tricks but if not then I will burn instead? What if I don't perform according to the plan? What if I slip up, will Jesus then condemn me to hell on that basis? If that is the way it is then what good is the new covenant spoken of in Jer 31 and Heb 8 that is based on God's promises rather than ours.

    So why do I do what I do? I certainly don't do it to gain something because that is a form of salvation by works but rather I do it because it is the right thing to do. I have learned that the best way to go, the one that nets the best results, is the way that Jesus says to go in (Prov 14:12; 16:25). Not only do things smooth out for me but the ripple effect spreads the blessing out to others so that everyone has a better day.

    If I am going to Heaven let it be because I naturally fit into the way things are done there, because that is the way I want to do things - not because I have mechanically earned my way there like a pay check.

    Like(5)
    • EGWhite had something to say on that ripple effect, "Throw a pebble into a lake, and a wave is formed, and another and another, and as they increase the circle widens until it reaches the very shore. So with our influence. Beyond our knowledge or control it tells upon others in blessing or in cursing" Christ Object Lessons p.339, 340. Keep praying and encouraging everyone!

      Like(0)
  7. Jeff when we leave our past behind and make the hardest decisions like following Christ,he meets us half way...keep praying and we will do too...He will give you that power to fight all those spirits that still wanna torment you

    Like(1)
  8. [Moderators Note: Please use your Christian name and surname when commenting.]

    ' we have this hope that burns with in our heart hope in the coming of the lord.'No more night, no more pain, no more crying, no more death but peace for ever more with our lord.

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