It’s Not Going to Be Easy

Will it be worth the effort? Have you ever asked yourself that question before starting on a task? At our house in Arkansas, my wife and I decided to update our kitchen. It was a lengthy, incremental project that included stripping and painting cabinets, replacing countertops, installing a new sink and faucet, tiling a backsplash, installing new appliances and painting. We did most of the work ourselves in an attempt to save money. The whole process took YEARS. It was not years of daily work but just projects here and there. Somewhere in the midst of it all, we decided that starting the project might not have been a good idea, and we would hire someone if we ever wanted to do something like that again. We got to enjoy the completed kitchen for less than a month when we started packing everything up to move to Oregon. If we had known all that at the beginning, we probably would have done things much differently.
Jesus is very upfront with his disciples and the crowd in Mark 8, when he tells them that following him will not be easy. The idea of a person taking up his cross would have been all too familiar in their culture, and it would not be something that anyone would seek out. He wants them to understand the cost. He wants their commitment. He asks the same thing of us today. If we are living the lives that Jesus calls us to live, there is a cost. It requires our time. It requires using our talents. It requires our giving. It requires our hearts. It requires that we become living sacrifices. And is it worth the effort? Absolutely.
“For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?” (Mark 8:35-37)

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