Lately I have spent quite a bit of time thinking about the cost to following Jesus.
Honestly, the reason this has been on my mind is because there have been many times over the past almost five weeks where I have asked myself “is this worth it?”
[“this” being the life that we have chosen here in Tanzania]
Is it worth having dirty children every single day?
Is it worth all the mosquitoes, nets and bug spray?
Is it worth feeling silly every time I open my mouth to try to speak Swahili?
Is it worth the non-stop heat rash on my children?
Is it worth going through a ton of diapers because my son has diarrhea?
Is it worth feeling scared because I don’t always know what is going on around me?
Is it worth the fear of busy streets and public transportation?
Is it worth sending our kids to school each day, even when they don’t want to go?
Is it worth being far from family, friends, and our church body?
So many questions.
Jesus, in his grace, led me straight to HIS word.
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which if you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’…So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.”
-Luke 14:25-30, 33
At first glance this passage seems so harsh. Hate my family?!? Doesn’t that seem to go against Scripture itself? However, what this really means in the Greek is that we should love God more than our family. But I’m getting ahead of myself. There were three things that my study notes highlighted from this passage that REALLY stuck out to me:
-We should love God, even more than our family.
-We need to bear our cross and fully embrace what He has for our lives.
-We must renounce all.
This is a tough pill to swallow! A big one, at that. As I have contemplated this passage and what God wants to show me though it, I’ve really had to wrestle. It seems like He’s simply asking too much. It’s just too sacrificial. I’m not strong enough to do these things.
BUT He didn’t stop there with me. He pushed me a little further. He showed me more of His heart.
See, it’s a paradox:
When I love God most, I can LOVE my family even BETTER.
When I take up my cross and fully embrace what He has for me there is PEACE and UNEXPLAINABLE JOY.
When I renounce all, I find I have EVERYTHING I need in HIM!
How amazing is this?
So, yes. He is worth it. The dirty kids, mosquito nets, crazy traffic, fears, missing family, etc. It’s all worth it. Is there a cost? Absolutely! However, one day, Lord-willing, we will be a part of seeing a least reached people group here in Tanzania come to know God, love Him, take up their cross to follow Him, and renounce all. Thankful, even on the hard days, for the privilege of walking with Jesus on this wild and crazy adventure!