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Counting the Cost

A little boy came into the kitchen one evening while his mother was fixing supper. He had been working hard at the kitchen table on a piece of paper, and now he handed it to his mom. She wiped her hands and read these words:

For making my own bed: $1.

For playing with my baby brother while you cooked supper: $4.

For taking out the trash: $2.

For raking the yard: $3.

As she looked at him standing there expectantly, a thousand memories flashed through her mind. She smiled, picked up the pencil, and wrote these words:

For the nine months I carried you, growing inside of me: No Charge.

For the nights I sat up with you, doctored you, prayed for you: No Charge.

For the meals, the laundry, the clean home: No Charge.

For the hugs, the tears, the forever place in my heart: No Charge.

Putting down the pencil, she looked at him and said, "When you add it all up, the cost of my love is… No Charge."  A necessary lesson for that little boy.  While his mother's love cost him nothing, he will never know the price his mom had to pay. 

How many of us can relate to that Mom?  We've done more, worried more, cried more, sacrificed more than our children could ever imagine.  And the funny thing is, we'd do it all over again in a heartbeat if needed.  While real love is free for the asking, someone always has to pay the price - and it's a price that most of us take for granted.  

And so it is with God's love.  His love is greater, higher, deeper, more patient, further reaching and more sacrificing than anything we could ever attempt to imagine.  And to know a love that amazing draws us... compels us closer to its Source.  It makes us want to gain insight into His heart.  And as a result, maybe, just maybe, get a sense of what the monumental cost of that love was to Him.

But can it be done?  Is it possible for us to move beyond a sense of childish entitlement of His love into a deeply mature gratitude for it?  When we look into God's Word, we not only see His love in action, we get a glimpse of what Jesus' love for us... cost Him

In the 14th chapter of Mark we find Jesus with His disciples on the night He was betrayed.  Just as Jesus had predicted, Judas arrived with a crowd, armed with swords and clubs, to take Him away.  And while it may have been distressing for Jesus, we know that on this night, it wasn't surprising. But what happened later, I imagine, would have been more than just a little disheartening.  As Jesus was addressing the mob, confronting them on their cowardice attempt to capture Him, we need to notice what His stand-by-you-till-I-die friends were doing...

Meanwhile, all His disciples deserted Him and ran away. ~ Mark 14:50 

The feet that, mere hours before, had been tenderly washed by Jesus, now kicked up clouds of dust in their haste to leave Him.  The hearts previously quieted in the Presence of their Messiah now raced like frightened rabbits as they scattered to get away.  And the vows of undying devotion are now lost in the echoes of the wind.

Can you imagine the look on Jesus's face?  The disappointment deep within His eyes?  The resigned sense of knowing that echoed in His heart.  They've left Him now.  And from this point on, Jesus's journey to the Cross will be made alone.  Just one more tally on the cost of His love.

Yes, as the old hymn goes, Jesus Paid it All, but let's not forget the journey He made to do that.  A journey of betrayal.  A journey of abandonment.  A journey of love. The love of Jesus that, to us, was No Charge.  We didn't earn it.  We didn't deserve it.  Yet He freely gave it.

And even as we get a glimpse of Divinity in action, we have to be honest with ourselves.  With a love this amazing, we will never truly know the price our Saviour had to pay. 

And the amazing thing is... He'd do it all over again in a heartbeat. 

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Dear God, sometimes my "testing" season seems so long. Please give me courage to endure until the end. Help me not to bail! You said you would bless me for hanging in there - I will not give up on you or your promises. You are with me and will see me through this trial.