Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Cost of Ownership

(submitted by Kerry Patton)
And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’   Luke 14:27-29

No Charge! 
I got ‘zinged’ this week with an unpleasant expense.  The battery in my Mac Pro laptop I use in my home studio needed to be replaced and I had put it off for quite a while.  The life of the battery had been diminishing over the last six months or so and as long as I kept the laptop plugged in, I was fine.  I could keep right on working.  I had, however, lost the ability to do what we buy laptops for: unplug and work away from the wall!  Most recently however, the battery would no longer take a charge and had diminished to the point that if the current from the plug were interrupted even ever so briefly, the computer would reboot.  Not good.  So, it was time to take action. 

I scheduled an appointment with the Apple store in Fort Worth to have a new battery installed, went in for my appointment, and thirty minutes later – I had a brand new battery.  Total cost: $139.64.  I was a bit shocked…if you’ll pardon the pun…at the cost of cthat battery.  I think my car battery had cost less money! And yet, this wasn’t my first laptop computer and I already knew that the rechargeable batteries in laptops are prone to wearing out within two or three years.  When I bought the computer back in 2011, I may have even thought about that anticipated day somewhere in the future when I would have to buy a new battery.  It would simply be a part of the cost of ownership.
Much of life is like that isn’t it?  We don’t simply purchase an automobile without also factoring in the costs of the insurance, gasoline, maintenance costs, tire replacement and such.  These are the costs of ownership.  These can be ignored for a season in life, but not for long.  Eventually we face them, or the function and effectiveness of that to which they relate is in many cases radically affected (if not altogether ended).  If we are wise, we consider the costs of ownership and conform our lives so that they may be maintained.

Counting the Costs
In Luke chapter 14 above, we find Jesus addressing the costs of discipleship.  Perhaps we don’t think often about this.  We are secure in our salvation, and thankful that our loving heavenly Father supplies the things we need.  We go to him when trouble comes, sickness or hardship visits our lives, but we may not dwell much upon our own responsibilities that became ours when we agreed to become followers of the example and teachings of Jesus.  “And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” states Luke 14:27a.

Carry their cross’…what does that mean? Well, the nod in the direction of Christ’s crucifixion should seem obvious.  Right?  The apostle Paul spoke of dying to himself daily…crucifying his flesh, (metaphorically speaking) so that Christ Jesus could live in and through him.  Then, other Christian responsibilities are assumed:

·      Philippians 1:27 encourages us to live our lives in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ.
·      Matthew 28:19-20 commissions each of us to the mission of sharing the Good news of salvation from sin in Jesus.

·      James 1:27 directs our attention to “looking after orphans or widows in distress.”
·      Matthew 25:35-36 leads us in giving to the hungry, clothing the naked, and visiting those in prison.
·      Colossians 3:22 advises us that we are to be serving as Christ in the workplace.
·      And Colossians 3:23 broadens that to suggest that WHATEVER we put our hands to do, we should be doing as unto the Lord.

These examples are not to be understood as a complete list of those costs of ownership that are ours as Christians, but examples…reminders to us that we are not merely passive passengers on a ‘train of grace’ bound for heaven.  We are to be actively living and serving as Christ in this life.  We are ambassadors for the Most High God, and our Savior and King Jesus Christ on this earth.  The responsibility is ours to live lives worthy of this calling, this gift that is the life of those redeemed.

Almighty God, continue to mold and shape me into the living image of Jesus.  I have taken on the cost of ownership to the name Christian… Now O God, bring into my daily living the markers of faithful Christian love, living and service.  In Jesus’ holy name I pray, Amen

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