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Counting the Cost

October 15, 2021

Our comforts can be a source of suffering.

Counting the Cost

By Katie Pearson

“And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: “Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.”’ And he said to him, ‘Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.’ And Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him, ‘You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.’ Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, ‘How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!’ And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, ‘Children, how difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.’ And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, ‘Then who can be saved?’ Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.’ Peter began to say to him, ‘See, we have left everything and followed you!’ Jesus said, ‘Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the Gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sister and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.’” - Mark 10:17–31

What greater leap of faith is there than following Jesus? We must relinquish everything that we believe we control. We must count the cost, although it will look and feel different for each of us. What is God asking you to let go of to walk the narrow road?

Throughout the Gospels, we see Jesus speak to two groups that struggle to follow the Lord: the religious and the rich. This story is a relatable example of both, as the young ruler came to Jesus with his heart bowed to his religious duties and worldly riches. Jesus asked him to give up both.

While money and status are two of the most valued possessions that drive and define our identity and security today, they aren’t the sticking point for all of us. Jesus knows what you cling to when your faith is shaken. He knows what you treasure above godliness, and he sees what you turn to when you want to feel better or look better to a watching world. We all have idols, and we turn to “lesser loves” in our weaker moments. But we don’t always see that our comforts can be a source of our suffering. The Lord doesn’t ask us to leave them behind to hurt us or deprive us. He wants to heal our hearts and give us real life, abundant life with him.

Reflection:
This story is tragic because the rich young ruler has a severe spiritual blind spot. What about you? Where is Jesus asking you to loosen your grip and let him take lordship over your life yet again? Don’t miss verse 27: “Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.’” In your own strength, you can’t walk away from whatever it is you rely on more than God. But Jesus can help you lay it down, if you are willing. In faith, just ask. We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

 

Related Resource:

Walking in Light

In our six-week small group Bible study on the book of 1 John, you are invited to live and celebrate true life in Christ. Throughout his first letter, John wrestles with the assurance of salvation. How do we know that we are genuine Christians, and how can we recognize authentic faith in others? The Apostle John taught that you can enjoy full assurance through believing in the incarnate Son of God, walking in the light of obedience, and loving God and his children. Embark on this study with us today!




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