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Pastor's Note
Reverend, Warren R. Carswell

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How much does it cost? , כמה זה עולה それはどれくらいしますか, cuanto cuesta, Combien ça coûte,
Wie viel kostet es

This may be one of the most commonly used phrase throughout the world! In every culture and language, people ask this simple question. Whether shopping for bargains, cars, homes, or planning trips, we want to know how much something is going to cost. Numerous times I have desired to buy something but walked away from the deal because it was too expensive. Have you ever done that? Let's see what Jesus says about costs.

Luke 14:25-33 (NIV)

25 Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26 "If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. 27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. 28 "Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won't you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? 29 For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, 30 saying, 'This person began to build and wasn't able to finish.'33 In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.

This is one of those sayings of Jesus that leaves me distressed. 2000 years ago, people asked Jesus that very question. Majority didn't like his answer and walked away (Matt 19:16-22). Others in power schemed to take his life (John 11:53). We have a propensity to desire deals and the easy road. When approached with following Christ with a consumer mindset, we will be greatly shocked and disappointed. The price tag for following Christ is more than we can afford to pay! More than we want to give! It cost too much time, money, relationships, and many things that we hold tightly too!

But being a following of Christ is just that. Following Christ is letting go of one's on desires and goals to partner with our Creator in the transformation of the world! I can not think of anything greater to do than participating with Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit in making the world a better place. "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven," we pray. Far too often we pray this simple prayer but really do nothing about it. We expect to continue with our lives as usual while letting God do all the work. God did the work through Christ upon the cross. Our heavenly Father, along with the Son, calculated the cost for the purchase of humanity. The cost was his very life - everything!

So is it too much for Christ to ask the same of us? To give all that we have to follow him? I don't think so, but I struggle with letting go of things at times? What are you unwilling to let go of so that you can fully follow Christ? What are those things dearest to you, and they may be good things, that you hold too tightly in your grasp? Go back to the top and read again what Jesus said. Yes, pause and read it again. What are those "everything" that comes to your mind? What are those things the church, yes, Southview United Methodist Church, holds unto that is hindering us from following Christ? Pause and think about those things. Most the time those things that bring forth a quick knee jerk reaction, anger, or a "no, I'm not doing that" are often the things we are holding too tightly and unwilling to let go of.

Here's the thing. And this is truly a black and white matter. When Jesus said "everything" he meant "everything!" There is another cost to count in this matter. SIN, I once heard that sin will cost you more than you ever thought and take your places you never thought you would go! True?! I would much rather give to Christ all that I am rather than have even more stolen by the evil one. Following Christ is so worth it! Are you willing to give "everything?"

Grace and Peace,
Warren Carswell
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