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Today: 13 November 2019


Worth it

First published 03/03/2019

We were invited to a party recently to share in a good friend’s celebrations.  But the party was going to be more than 200 miles (350 km) away.  Was it worth the cost and effort of going so far?  In fact we did go, and we were glad we had - it felt right to have shown loyalty and friendship - and we enjoyed the party!  Had it been one of our family members celebrating, of course we would have gone even more readily, and we would have been willing to go further - for someone we really loved.

When it comes to exploring spiritual questions then, how far are we prepared to travel?  Sometimes, even for those who are on the journey, it can look as though God is far away, and the journey to finding God is difficult, demanding and costly.  Is it worth the effort?

Jesus told stories about people searching for things they had lost - a lost sheep or a lost coin (Luke 15, verses 1-10).  The shepherd abandoned everything to find the one lost sheep; the woman swept every corner of the house until she found the coin - with much rejoicing.  They went to some trouble, and it was worth it.

The very next story Jesus told (Luke 15: 11-24) is about a young man who had abandoned his family and looked for fulfilment elsewhere.  His journey away from home had been full of a sense of hope and freedom, but it hadn’t worked out.  His journey home again meant he had to admit his mistake, apologise to his father and be prepared to face criticism and possible rejection.

In fact, the climax of that story is that far from being rejected or judged for his actions, his father runs to meet him, gathers him in his arms and welcomes him home as a lost son who has been found and is alive.

The journey of the son was long and difficult - but it turned out to be worth it.  But the question - was the father’s journey worth it? - is a nonsense question.  The father ran - because he loved his son dearly.

The Christian path can often seem tough.  For some Christians it has been a path through suffering and death.  Many today are suffering for their faith in Christ.  Is it worth it?

That still is a nonsense question, because love overrules all self-centred questions.  When I know the love of God, surrounding and holding me, the cost of the journey is overwhelmed by the power of love.

When I became a minister in the church I was asked the searching question, ‘Do you promise to remain true to Christ whatever trouble or persecution may arise?’  I don’t know how I would respond under extreme pressure, but I hope in that moment I would know I am held in God’s love, and God’s love would answer the questions.

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Jesus did not count the cost of dying for the sake of the world, or ask - is it worth it?.  His sacrifice flowed from God’s love.  Lord, give me a love that responds to your love on this most worthwhile journey of all.

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