And the story goes something like this:
The Lord came to Adam and told him that he was going to create another human being for companionship.
“She will be female and beautiful, the most gorgeous creature your eyes have ever seen,” the Lord explained. “She will meet you at the door with a kiss when you come home from work and will have a cold beverage in hand for your refreshment.”
Adam leaned in, getting more interested.
The Lord continued, “And that’s not all. She will have the sweetest scent and will guide you to your chair where she will give you your newspaper and massage your achy feet. Then she will call you to a table where she has prepared all your favorite foods—every single night of your life!”
“Wonderful!” Adam exclaimed, jumping to his feet, “but what will all this cost me?”
“An arm and a leg,” the Lord replied.
Adam thought for a moment then asked, “What could I get for a rib?”
That apocryphal story underlines a malady that many of us live with: we just aren’t willing to pay the price for God’s best. We often settle for the good when the Lord is holding out His very best with an invitation to anyone who dares come after it. Moses forsook Egypt and all its treasures that he might become a Friend of God. Rather than staying at the base of the mountain with the congregation, he dared climb all the way to the top and disappeared within the fire and smoke. The Lord invited him and he came and the rest is history.
That’s paying the price.
Recently I was pouting to the Lord about why I didn’t have certain “abilities” in ministry like some others and I heard His loving yet firm reply: “Because they pay the price and you don’t.” Ouch. Abandon your nets and I will make you fishers of men, He tells us. Take up your cross daily and follow me. Sell all you have and you will have treasure in heaven. Love not the world. Paying the price. How far will you go for the Savior?
I went out for my high school’s varsity football team my junior year and the first day of practice the coach instructed everyone seeking a skill position to run thirty laps around the track. He told the rest to run fifteen. Now, I was a strong runner with powerful legs along with some illusive moves that could have benefited the backfield, but I chose to run the fifteen laps because it was a hot August morning and I hated to run! I spent my high school career on the line instead of in the backfield because I wasn’t willing to pay the price. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with playing on the line, but there is if you are made for the backfield.
Paul the apostle paid the price. He left nothing on the field. In some ways, he is the Moses of the New Testament for he forsook prominence in the world for the preeminence of Christ and became God’s messenger of a new covenant. Through shipwrecks, beatings, imprisonments, persecutions and ultimately martyrdom, he was spent for the cause Christ called him to. He said, “I will gladly spend and be spent for you…” (2 Cor.12:15). He would not be deterred with namby-pamby half-heartedness but gave every last drop of his existence for the Lord and His church. That’s the meaning of the word “spend” in that verse: to be drained.
Paul let God squeeze every single ounce out of him. That’s what I call the ‘currency of the committed’. Here’s my life, Lord; take it and spend it as you wish for it is not mine to decide where or how or how much but my whole life is a tithe to you. Use me, spend me, drain me…for your glory. It’s not too much to ask of us, is it? May we be known as those who are willing to pay the price for the One who spent an eternal sum to capture us for His pleasure.
Even if it costs us an arm and a leg.