Gift 14 – The Cost

$500.

That’s how much we paid for our golden retriever.

But that’s not counting all his shots and early vet bills…

Or the price of a cage, a leash, a collar…

Or the dog food he devours like a rabid rhinoceros…

Or the legs of tables and chairs he incessantly chews…

Or the cleaning supplies needed to remove the remnants of his “accidents” (though I’m beginning to suspect some of his “accidents” are on purpose)….

Or the cost of paint and drywall supplies used to repair the wall that our delightful pet attacked and devoured for no apparent reason (that’s right, he ate a wall)…

Or the blankets we had to throw away after he barfed up said wall on our bed…

Or the phone chargers, underwear, and washing-machines (happened) that he’s eaten…

Or the eventual cost of getting him fixed (goodness knows we don’t want this K9 reproducing)…

Or the…for the sake of space I’ll stop here, though I assure you the list goes on.

"I like C.S. Lewis too, dad."

“I like C.S. Lewis too, dad.”

$500? Not even close. That number seems laughable after all we’ve been through with our destructive little friend. The point is, he’s costing us more than we originally thought. He’s worth it all right, but it would have been helpful having a slightly more accurate cost estimate going into the purchase of our beloved pooch.

And it’s not just Piper—there are many surprise expenses that go along with being an adult: fine print on big purchases, added charges and hidden fees, even getting groceries always seems to cost about 3 times more than expected.

In light of realizing all these veiled expenses, I have come to genuinely appreciate Jesus’ lack of tact in his strategy to recruit and retain disciples. He’s not interested in forcing a quick sale by making discipleship sound like something that it isn’t. He has no marketing department—and if he did, frankly, they should be fired. He says things like, “Those who would come after me must deny themselves, take up their cross and follow me,” and, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple.” That’s not exactly something you’d want to put on a business card. But Jesus doesn’t seem to be interested in fine print. He’s not looking to bait anyone into signing an agreement they don’t intend on keeping. He asks for everything.

Christians sometimes water down discipleship to make Christianity more attractive. We reduce it to a one-time decision—the raising of a hand, the praying of a prayer, etc.—and sweep past Jesus’ claim on our lives. But Jesus doesn’t just want a wedding, he wants a marriage. He wants everything.

While this sounds intimidating and maybe even terrifying, here’s the most important part: He’s worth everything.

Jesus says, “The Kingdom of Heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all that he had and bought that field. Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.”

The treasure in the story is of greater value than everything else the man owns. That’s why he’s happy and eager to make transaction. In his joy he went off and sold all that he had. Had he been willing to sell 50% of his belongings to buy the treasure, we could assume the treasure is worth slightly more than half of everything he owned. Had the man sold an item or two to get the treasure, we could assume it isn’t worth all that much. But, the man sells everything to buy the treasure, showing its value is incalculable—it’s worth everything.

Son, I don’t think Jesus’ words about the cost of being a disciple are to scare you away. I pray that thinking about his costly invitation will be another way for you to see just who this Jesus is and what he’s worth, because I believe that he is worth it all. I also believe that he is eager and excited to give you more blessing than you can imagine, but that emptying your hands of all else is the only way to truly receive.

How much is Jesus worth to you? Is he worth everything? I don’t ask these questions to make you feel guilty, or to pressure you to “be a better Christian” or anything dumb like that. No, no, I want you to see the pearl, son. I want you to see and know and love this Jesus who is worth it all so that your heart sings with the psalmist who says, “Your love is better than life!”

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