The world is filled with people looking something for nothing; for instant gratification, success, wealth and spiritual maturity. People want things quickly; the microwave effect has truly spilled over into so many areas of our lives.
Attainment and success through Jesus Christ however paints a contrast. There is nothing that is instant, instead there is a process and those persons who choose to undergo this process will find that it takes time and often there is a price to pay.
Everything we do in life has a price. If we want to live a holy life for example we have to make the sacrifices necessary to achieve it. Consider the words of Christ in Luke 14:27, “And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple“. To live a holy life we first have to be tested, cleansed and pruned, it is not something that happens overnight. Some of us want to run away from the process of becoming as even the thought of the many trials we may face before we attain success is painful but we must yield to the process.
Let’s examine Job, a righteous and upright man of God. Though he did what was right even he had to pay his price. He was tested by Satan, lost his family, friends, possessions and his health deteriorated. He was humiliated before his friends and wife but this was the cross he had to carry and he carried it well.
When some people see others achievements they sometimes become envious of them and want to be in their position often without considering the price those people had to pay to get to where they are. There is always a price and to attain the success that others have we all must assess whether we are ready and willing to make the sacrifice.
Are we willing to take the necessary risk? Are we willing to fail? Are we willing to undergo humiliation? Are we willing to start again after failure after failure?
The story highlighted in Matthew 20:20 of the Zebedee’s sons hold a powerful truth about greatness. “Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus with her sons and kneeling down, asked a favour of him. “What is it you want?” he asked. She said “Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.” You don’t know what you are asking, Jesus said to them “Can you drink of the cup I am going to drink?” The word cup is an idiom in the Hebrew language that means price. In other words Jesus was inquiring if they could pay the price he was about to pay.
When we see great people we must ask ourselves if we can drink from their cup. Can we pay the price that Nelson Mandela paid to be an icon? Would we be willing to spend 25 years in prison for a cause we feel strongly about?
As we seek to move into our different purposes and callings we should first examine the cost of living the life that God has designed for us and determine how much we are willing to pay the price. How badly do we want it? Are we willing to do whatever it takes?
Wise businessmen and women always assess the cost of all ventures before they start its operation. Luke 14:28 says, “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower, will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? For if he lays the foundation and it is not able to finish it everyone who sees it will ridicule him, saying this fellow began to build and was not able to finish.“
When we know our cost and the price we must pay we can effectively increase the chance of succeeding. God wants us all to be fruitful but we have to carry our own cross to do His will and these will come in the form of setbacks, humiliation, criticisms and sometimes great loss. Jesus sent his only Son to pay the price for our sins, if we choose to follow Him we have a price to pay as well.
Some prefer to settle for mediocrity as it may appear to be less risky but therein lies even greater danger. Heroes like Martin Luther King Jr, Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, Mahatma Ghandi and many others made a decision to move away from a mediocre life. In doing so they lost much but the legacy and impact that they have made on the world lives on today and that is even greater gain.
Resolve to pay your price in full and live a life of greatness.