Friday, February 18, 2011

Considering the Cost

Last weekend I was visited by our local Mary Kay representative for an in-home skincare "lesson" (read: sales pitch). I listened and tried out several products and paid attention to what the MK Lady told me about skin care products, took mental notes, and then braced myself as she prepared to tell me the cost of everything.

The facial skin care set: $90. $125 if I wanted the uber-set. The stupendous hand care set that I fell in love with: $34 (comparable with Bath & Body Works Prices). Puffy eye gel that I can put in the fridge and put on my eye-puffs whenever I cry or am overtired or have sneezed too much: $15 (not too bad). My brain: Still stuck on "Wait... $90 for freaking face wash and moisturizer? For serious?"

It was nice... but... $90? Really?

Now, those of you who use MK or Clinique or Lancome or Estee Lauder or other comparable makeup on a regular basis are probably thinking: Yes. Duh. Pay attention, Danielle. It's the price of beauty and delayed wrinkles. But please understand: I buy $5 face wash from Trader Joe's and 2-packs of Olay Complete facial moisturizer at Sam's Club for less than $30. So to ask me to switch from my inexpensive, seems to be working routine to a $90 set of products that 5 hours later made my face itch... I am unconvinced of the value in doing so. That's a $55 difference from my current routine.

I really and truly had to consider the cost before I could determine whether or not to hit the "buy" button.

Sitting in church the next day singing "Amazing Grace", I realized that was not the first time in my life I'd been presented with leaving my old way of doing things for a new one and had to consider the cost of doing so. When my heart first began to open up enough to let Jesus in and let Him change me, I had to consider the cost too.

Following Jesus meant life would change completely. Sacrifices would happen. The people surrounding you change. How you approach your job and simple things like driving changes. How you spend a Thursday night changes. My marriage is affected. I could keep going on and on and on... but a lot of things changed when I began to place my trust in Jesus as the leader of my life.

And while almost 5 years later I can see how all of these changes have been good and have had positive outcomes... I cannot help but take pause and realize that the cost was huge. The initial investment has changed my life and has called me to make further investments in Jesus' calling and God's will for my life. It has challenged me to reach outside of myself further, has made me aware of my brokenness and my need to changes areas of my life, to sacrifice my time and resources so that others may be blessed and know that God loves them as well.

The benefits of my investments so far have been huge. A stronger relationship with my husband. Deeper friendships. Stronger bonds with family members. Tangible answers to prayer. The ability to see where God is working in my life. Things that before I may have treated superficially or overlooked I see with different eyes. I can see His hand in areas I never would have before getting to know Him better.

Are you thinking about where Jesus will fit in your life? I urge you to consider the cost and think over the benefits. Like any good cosmetics saleswoman would say - I can't guarantee that all results will be equal, but I can tell you that anyone who has let Jesus change their heart that I've met has been thrilled with the results. Are you willing to let Him do that for you?

One day when large groups of people were walking along with him, Jesus turned and told them, ""Anyone who comes to me but refuses to let go of father, mother, spouse, children, brothers, sisters—yes, even one's own self!—can't be my disciple. Anyone who won't shoulder his own cross and follow behind me can't be my disciple.

Is there anyone here who, planning to build a new house, doesn't first sit down and figure the cost so you'll know if you can complete it? If you only get the foundation laid and then run out of money, you're going to look pretty foolish. Everyone passing by will poke fun at you: 'He started something he couldn't finish.'

Or can you imagine a king going into battle against another king without first deciding whether it is possible with his ten thousand troops to face the twenty thousand troops of the other? And if he decides he can't, won't he send an emissary and work out a truce?

Simply put, if you're not willing to take what is dearest to you, whether plans or people, and kiss it good-bye, you can't be my disciple.

"Salt is excellent. But if the salt goes flat, it's useless, good for nothing.
"Are you listening to this? Really listening?" 
Luke 14":25-35 (The Message)

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