I am learning that every part of landscaping, from the borders to the dirt to the mulch to the plants themselves, is an incredibly expensive hobby. As a result of my recent education on the subject, the yard of my new house, the same one I had dreamed of landscaping, continues to be roughly in the same condition it was when we moved in.
I’ve been watching the local classifieds on the internet, and imagine my delight to find a couple of advertisements for border stones…for free! We’ll just say that picking up those stones became a very high priority.
It makes me think about receiving things for free. It is said that there is no such thing as a free lunch, and in this world where we currently live, this is so true. Even though I didn’t pay anything for the stones, they did come with a price tag. I had to stop everything I was doing to go and pick them up, and once home, I had to unload them, haul them to their new “homes” around the back of my house, and then I had to place them to build my beds. And now that I have a couple beds built, I have to buy plants to put in them!
The Bible talks about a total free gift: Salvation. It is, perhaps, the only thing we will ever receive for free that is a completely unselfish gift: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 NIV).
But Salvation does come at a cost. Jesus paid an alarmingly high price to give it to us. First of all, He left Heaven: “You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich.” (2 Cor. 8:9 NLT); “Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:5-8 NKJV).
Jesus’ death also came at a great costs. He died a very different death than any of us will ever die, and this is why there was so much anguish in the Garden of Gethsemane. This is why He asked God to remove the burden from Him: “Going a little farther, Jesus fell with his face to the ground and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.’…. He went away a second time and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done….he prayed the third time, saying the same thing.” (Matthew 26:39-44).
However, the cost to Jesus of our Salvation isn’t the only cost. Just like me receiving the free stone resulted in work on my part, When we accept Jesus’ gift, this totally free gift of love from our Creator, there is also a cost to us, for even though salvation is free, following Christ will cost us everything that we are: “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” (Matthew 16:24-25 NKJV)
Thus, following Christ means denying ourselves. It means admitting that we are no longer our own. We have been bought by the blood of Jesus, and this means we are now His. He has the rights to us. He owns us: “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your Spirit, which are God’s.” (1 Cor. 6:19-20 NKJV).
As a result, following Christ will be hard. It will be costly. It requires that we die to our own selves. It requires that we surrender our will to Him.
But are these things so bad?
Let’s go back to my free stone. Sure it resulted in work for me; but in the end, my yard is so much nicer than it would have been otherwise. And it is the same with our surrender to Jesus Christ. The result is a life with access to perfect peace, incomprehensible wisdom, undeserved freedom, inexplicable joy, and oh, so much more.
I think the cost of following Christ is worth the result, don’t you?
In His Love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, andScriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, withAnswers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.