1999-06-24 - Nothing Ventured
Luke 14:28-30 "For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost, to see if he has enough to complete it? 29 "Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation, and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, 30 saying, 'This man began to build and was not able to finish.' (NAS)
Did you ever get started in a project and run out of something, or use more of a particular thing than you expected to use? I think we've all done that. And if you have escaped it so far, your turn is probably coming. I am a strong believer in trying to learn from my mistakes and failures. In my daily walk, I have plenty of material for study.
If you are going to paint your home, and you've never or rarely done it, you ask for help in selecting the right paints and supplies, and the right quantity. There are a brave few who dare to go at it on their own. Some will have leftover paint, others will be running back to the store for more. Since the paint and your time are valuable things, you and I want to spend them wisely. If we are wise, we count the cost in preparing for the task so that costly mistakes can be avoided.
John 7:38 "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.'" (NAS)
If you or I are going to serve Jesus, we have to count the cost too. There is some truth to the idea that things that are given to us are less valued than things we have earned. There is nothing we can do to earn our salvation which is a free gift from God, and few things more cherished. But as we grow in our faith our hearts are often stirred to service. The Lord promised that if we delight ourselves in Him, He will give us the desires of our heart (Psa. 37:4). As we become more and more like Him, our desires will hopefully be closer and closer to His will. Even in the middle of trouble, our hearts desire will be to use the gifts he has given to us for His Kingdom. The simplicity of salvation, or the love that God has shown to us can fill our innermost being to bursting. The word rivers can also be translated torrents. God will fill us with the things we need to live the life He has called us to live, and to share it with others.
If you plan to paint a room, go out and purchase the paint, and even prepare the room to be painted covering floors and furniture, the paint will go to waste unless you act with the brushes and rollers to complete the task. There are smelly fumes and specks of paint that will get on your clothes and glasses. This is part of the cost. Jesus will also allow us to get into some uncomfortable places - pushing us out of our comfort zone. These trying or difficult times are the times we learn the most. The restful or joyful, mountain top times have their purpose too, but the learning is done walking the valleys. If we are unwilling to invest ourselves in these times, the Lord can not show us His grace, mercy and our dependence on Him.
The cost of not acting to paint the room will be wasted paint and living with the walls that need to be maintained. This cost can be measured mostly in financial and temporal terms. The cost of not venturing out and investing ourselves into the things that Jesus places in our paths means that our growth as His children will be stifled and slowed. The loss here is harder to measure, but has ripples that reach out to those around us for eternity. Allowing fear and uncertainty to hold us back steal from ourselves too. We will miss out on the joys of sharing the wonders we know with others. In these joys, there is great gain.
2 Tim 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (KJV)
Lord Jesus, Please give us courage to push aside the fear of rejection or ridicule and risk a little for You. As we learn to trust You for the results, help us to see Your hand in these things and encourage us to venture further out. Amen.