Counting the Cost5 min read
Paul exhorted Timothy, “Therefore, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ, endure hardship.” The implication from this verse is that if one does not endure hardship, he is not a good soldier of Jesus Christ. Therefore, it is essential that we as believers count the cost of our service, for it will be filled with trial and hardship. Paul could also say, “All who live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” Are we really ready for that kind of commitment? Are we ready to endure what it means to be a Christian? Are we ready to, as the Lord Jesus commands, “Be faithful unto death”? True faithfulness cannot end at any point, for then it turns into hypocrisy. And so, in order to be found faithful we must be ready to go unto the extreme for our Saviour. Are you ready for the days ahead if they should include terror?
Counting the Cost of Our Sin
Before we move on, however, it may be profitable to count the cost of our sin, that is, the sin of unfaithfulness.
1). By unfaithfulness we make ourselves a hindrance to Christianity: “Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth and a foot out of joint.” (Prov. 25:19). In days of persecution, the last thing we need is people who compromise Truth for the sake of being accepted. The last thing we need is people who pretend testimony is of no value since it will only bring persecution. Who of this attitude has done anything great for God while lingering in it? Our verse answers with the word none, because the unfaithful are just like a disjointed foot and only a hindrance to our Saviour and God’s people. Oh for His sake, let us be faithful!
2). By unfaithfulness, we limit our Heavenly reward. It is when we are “faithful in a very little” (that is, faithfulness with the few things God has entrusted us with) that we will have authority over ten cities as it were. It is when we lay up Heavenly treasure that our works merit gold, silver, and precious stones. But what about when we are unfaithful? What a future we compromise!
Counting the Cost of Our Service
Thankfully, though, we can indeed be faithful, but the question is: are we ready to count the cost of your service? Make no mistake: service will cost us something, and if we are not ready to sacrifice then we will be a sad, disappointed people. We must be ready to sacrifice our social reputation, because when we stand up for God’s Truth, they may mock us to scorn. We must be ready to give up our priorities and take up our cross and follow our Master, even if it takes us into the reproach that He bore. We must be ready to give up our affections to that God might have our full hearts. What are you ready to offer unto God?
Yet we must go further than this, for persecution is coming. Are you ready to give up your livelihood for the gospel’s sake, if need be? Are you ready to be imprisoned for your faithfulness? And will you be ready to give your life for Christ if He should require it at the hands of men?
With these questions in mind, we must deal with the issue that defines our answers to all of the questions. This issue is this – our allegiance to God and His Word. Before any believer can be faithful to the extent God demands, he must define his attitude towards the things of God, especially His Word. Is it your life, your breath, your food? Are you hungering and thirsting after righteousness, and are you being filled? Do you have a passion for knowing, applying, and standing for God’s Truth? If not, beware that you will be the unfaithful one when the world attacks. These are solemn realities, and we must decide now what our response will be to them. Are you ready to sacrifice for our Lord’s sake? Your answer to this question will coincide with what we have considered above.
As we conclude, let us be encouraged by the words of the Lord: “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” Some would preach that Christianity is a sort of mystical, magical, worry-free, and fun sensation of life that fulfills all of our desires. They are wrong. They may have more money, but they are wrong. Christianity can be down-right hard. If it wasn’t, why would Scripture take up the subject of trials so often? But though we are promised tribulation, and though we are promised persecution, we are to be happy. How? By keeping the words of Christ in mind, “Great is your reward in Heaven.” God is not unfaithful in any measure to forget our efforts for His sake. But not only will He remember them, He will reward and recognize them. In fact, He even goes so far to say, “For they persecuted the prophets before you in the same way.” This implies that just as the prophets endured the same persecution, just as they were great men of God, and just as they were honoured for it, so do we have the opportunity to be great people of God for our endurance and faithfulness. This is certainly tremendous incentive to serve! With this in mind, how is your attitude toward service? Has it changed? Is it stronger? Are you ready to count the cost of your service and yet serve faithfully for your Lord? O to love the Lord so that we could count all as loss that we might be pleasing to Him! For He certainly does delight in His faithful people.