Luke 14:26-30 (NLT)
“If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple. But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you. They would say, ‘There’s the person who started that building and couldn’t afford to finish it!’”
Is there really such a thing as “lost” people? What is it that we have lost exactly? When considering the price that Jesus paid to obtain our freedom from sin and overcome the world that had conquered His People, I wonder if a change of perspective is needed. The value of what is lost motivates the search for its recovery. Human life is no longer valued when considering how we treat the unborn and elderly in this world. Slavery has made a secret comeback and nobody wants to look at such a reality but live in the lie that keeps this dark secret hidden. The economy is trembling as the earth shakes violently with strange weather patterns all pointing to the return of Jesus Christ. No one wants that old time religion anymore, but are beginning to discover that there has to more to life than this because this is not working anymore. We cannot fix what we do not know is broken and will not search for what is lost if we do not know the value.
If I needed some quick cash there are some places that I would immediately go to find it. For example, the living room furniture would surely yield some loose change unless my kids have already pilfered it. I would move on to the car checking the console and fearfully running my hand beneath each seat. If that did not yield enough loose change, I would empty the contents of my purse for surely some has fallen to the bottom in my haste to get through the day. It would be a careless pursuit because after all I haven’t really lost anything of worth just maybe enough to get a soft drink or hamburger. However, if I was missing my debit card that gives me access to that which pays the bills and supplies our needs – I would be overwrought. Tearing the house apart with the telephone in my hand calling to cancel the card and order a new one. Or better yet, what if it was $100 bill that was missing? I believe that my pursuit would be one of a desperate nature because that is a lot of money. More than likely, I need that money to meet my family’s needs. I would look everywhere relentlessly until I found it. What if our little dog wandered off? My family would look everywhere until they found him. He is part of our family. We love him. What if it was one of my children? I would never stop waiting, watching, praying, searching, and calling until they came. The problem with our pursuit of the Kingdom of God is that we do not know its true worth and potential in our life. With no idea of what we have to gain, we consider a cost that is not representative of all that the Lord has for us so we give up and walk away with just a little loose change.
Matthew 13:44-46 (NLT)
“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field. “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant on the lookout for choice pearls. When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it!
Do you treasure the Kingdom of God? The Kingdom of God in its entirety value you. God the Father loves you and desperately awaits your arrival home. Jesus Christ the Son of God went so far as to die to fully repay the penalty of sin so that you could open the door and step right back in to the Father’s Presence but we are trying to earn our own way. It is impossible to ever pay enough to repay the Lord for our salvation. Our sacrifice falls short and is insufficient to produce the change of heart necessary to return to God’s Kingdom but rather than deciding to access full access to the Kingdom of God – we decide it must not be of any worth simply because it is free. It is free to us, but our salvation cost God everything. He considered the price deciding it was worth paying and released it to accomplish our salvation. Grace is the gift that has been given. It was not a careless thought or decided on a whim but planned out long before you were ever created. Why? All because God loves us and values us more than any other thing. But do we love and value God as well?
The Kingdom of Heaven is the opportunity to escape the sin and darkness of this world and live forever in the Love of God. It is not a transference of one form of slavery for another. When one considers what they will do for love, it might be called a form of slavery. But the truth is that they have counted the cost and decided that love was worth the price. It is a willing relationship of surrender. I yield my way for my husband because I love him and he does the same for me. Love covers a multitude of sins because our relationship is worth grace and mercy. Jesus is at the center of our relationship. He magnifies its worth and unites our heart as one so that even in selfishness neither walks away…how could we? This is the preciousness of our salvation. It is not to become God’s Slave and do His Bidding but to become His Child again coming home.
There is a saying that “you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.” This is so very true. Our oldest daughter will soon be married. She and her fiancé are looking at different rentals around town to choose their first home. When they first set out they had grand ideas based on their current living conditions with their parents, they have quickly come to understand that the life they have been given comes at a price. They are both very responsible and respectful children not given to rebellion or one’s who I would even labeled as “spoiled”. Instead, this revelation has created a greater appreciation for the lives that their parents have given them. When we learn to appreciate the Kingdom of Heaven and new life that Jesus Christ died for us to have, it is only then that when we consider the cost it will be worth giving it all to have His Presence once again!
Matthew 10:26-31 (NLT)
“But don’t be afraid of those who threaten you. For the time is coming when everything that is covered will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all. What I tell you now in the darkness, shout abroad when daybreak comes. What I whisper in your ear, shout from the housetops for all to hear! “Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell. What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.”
People do not understand their worth to God. If they did, they would know His Love that is boundless. But because the Crosses have come down from our churches and His Blood wiped from our message the sacrifice is hidden. Grace is flowing from an unknown source. This elusiveness makes His Love not seem credible or too incredible to be true. His Word has been exchanged for a more palatable message that makes no sense at all. We have a priceless treasure stored in clay vessels but have no idea what it is worth. The world has repackaged the Love of God making it look like the same love we find here on earth. Such love is not constant and unfailing but fickle in nature with wavering expectations. We don’t look for God’s Love because we don’t think it any different than what we have now. If we knew how very much God did love us, we would sell everything to have or give away just to experience a moment of it.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His Only Son…” (John 3:16) We have all heard this much but now we must read the rest of the story. “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son.” (John 3:16-18) Jesus didn’t come to take your life. It was apprehended by sin. He came to set you free. Love is about freedom and never by force. He didn’t come to condemn anyone but religion does. We broke all the rules by just breaking one so forget the notion that you will ever earn God’s Love. It is impossible already. But Jesus Christ paid your penalty in full and overcame this world so you would be free to come boldly in the Presence of God once again. The only thing that can separate us from His Love is by personal choice. When we decide that there is something worth more than His Kingdom or decide that we are not worthy of His Great Love. The very number of hairs on our head are numbered. Who does that? With one brushing that number changes dramatically but He is constantly fussing over us. He recorded every moment of our life before we were born. He made sure to provide everything that we needed to live a life of abundance. His Love casts out all fear so that we can live fearlessly in the fulfillment of God just because He loves us.
Luke 15:8-10 (NLT)
“Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Won’t she light a lamp and sweep the entire house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she will call in her friends and neighbors and say, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels when even one sinner repents.”
Repentance is nothing more than accepting God’s Love and our worth to Him. It is not a long list of rules and regulations but understanding that this life is not random. You are not just some loose change under an old couch cushion. God considers us priceless. His Kingdom is equally as priceless to those who take that measure of faith that they have been given to discover the Eternity that is hidden in our heart. The world will fill our life with “things” that it calls valuable and worthwhile. The only thing of value and worth is our soul. As our soul prospers so will our life. But it must be worthwhile enough to consider the cost and go after it. You must come home. Home is where the heart is. God’s Love is waiting for you as a priceless treasure. You are priceless to the Lord so much so that when you do make it home all of Heaven rejoices as if you were the only one. The pursuit of what is lost begins when we realize the value and great potential of what lies with it. The Lord desires to raise each one of us to his Glorious Standard of Living as sons and daughters not slaves and paupers. However, we must decide that His Kingdom is worth having and His Love made us worth saving. When we discover the invaluable treasure that His Love offers living in His Presence, we will give our all to have it.
Matthew 6:33 (NLT)
Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.