There’s no way around it. Participating in the life of a church costs us. It takes time, involves commitment, and it involves inconveniencing ourselves for the sake of others. The resources we invest in the life of church are resources we can’t spend in other ways.
To be involved in the life of a church requires:
- attending the church regularly
- serving others with our time and abilities
- supporting the work of the church with finances
- investing in other people within the church so that they grow
- following the leaders of the church, which can be hard even when we have good leaders
In a busy world, our resources are limited. Getting involved in a church can seem like an optional extra given the commitment that it requires.
It’s costly. There’s no other way around it. And yet it’s worth it. It’s essential to our lives as followers of Jesus Christ.
The Cost of Following Jesus
As I write this, the Washington Capitals and Las Vegas Golden Knights are about to battle for the Stanley Cup. The members of 29 teams are resting, while 2 teams continue to practice, travel, play, and strategize. Only 2 teams are paying the cost — but they do so gladly, because winning the Stanley Cup is worth it. If it’s valuable, it always comes at a cost.
It’s true in every area of life. Education, relationships, children, careers all take time. Anything that matters carries a high price tag.
As followers of Jesus, we often emphasize that God’s grace is given to us freely at Jesus’ cost. We do nothing to earn it or deserve it. We must guard this truth carefully It’s at the core of what it means to be a Christian.
And yet we must also guard a corresponding truth: following Jesus requires everything. We are no longer our own. We belong to him. He calls us to obey him and love others while holding nothing back.
In other words, following Jesus is costly. Our salvation was purchased at great cost, and following him requires everything (Luke 14:25-33). It’s that important.
This is the Christian life. There’s no other way.
The Rewards for Following Jesus
Jesus reminds us that whenever we pay a price for following him, the payback will always be greater.
Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” (Mark 10:29-30)
The rewards of following Jesus are always greater than the cost. Jesus doesn’t say we will get 100% more, but a hundredfold more. One old preacher said, “One house gone; but a hundred doors are open! One brother in the flesh lost; but a thousand brothers in the spirit, whose love is deeper and whose kinship is profounder” (G. Campbell Morgan).
Following Jesus costs everything, but it’s always worth it. No matter how much it costs, we will always receive more from God than we ever give him.
Pay the Price of Community
Gladly pay the price of Christian community. Believe that it’s worth it. Show up. Sacrifice your time and money. Invest in blessing others. Share your life — not just the tidy parts, but the messy parts too. Inconvenience yourself for the sake of others. Look for opportunities to serve even when it would be easier to serve yourself.
There’s a price to participating in worship and community within the church, and yet the cost is worth it.