Pay the Price
As a Retail Consultant, I am quite familiar with the behaviors of consumers. With the holiday season coming to a close, one of the biggest—perhaps even the most obvious realizations that I have come to is that people love to bargain. On a daily basis I hear it. “I don’t want to raise my bill.” “What kind of deal can you give me?” “Can we get it any lower?” “Do you have a cheaper price?” While it gets monotonous at times, I have to admit that I understand. People work hard. (Some are just cheap.) And when it comes to spending their hard earned money, they want to get the most bang for their buck. It is all about value.
Here in America, we live in an aggressive business culture where negotiation is a necessary skill and cutting the best deal is king. The best deals, for bargain shoppers especially, are comprised of circumstances by which an individual can acquire an item or service at a fraction of what they would normally pay for it.
It does not cost what it normally would cost.
While that is an understandable norm in the market place, I have found that tragically, this mentality of bargaining, of cutting deals, of getting the most bang for your buck has insidiously made its way into the mentality of the people of God. Specifically it has impacted how they engage in relationship with their God. If I am going to be honest…with conviction I must confess that I have found this mentality in me…in my dealings with the Father. What is the shortcut? What is the path of least resistance? How can I get out of paying the price that is being required of me?
Thanks be to God that David, the shepherd-boy-turned-warrior-king…the man after God’s own heart set a standard that has rippled through the ages and remains to challenge the mindset that would seek to gain much by paying less. In the 24thchapter of 2ndSamuel, David is presented with a deal from a man named Araunah the Jebusite that would have seemed incredible at first glance. The times were tense. The people of Israel were being subject to the judgment of God due to their rebellion. All David had to do was receive the items from Araunah, build an altar, and make a sacrifice with what was given to reverse the judgment. Yet, in response to the offer here is what David had to say: “No, I will surely buy it from you for a price, for I will not offer burnt offerings to the LORD my God which cost me nothing.” (2 Samuel 24:24)
Read it again. I will not offer burnt offerings to the LORD my God…which cost me nothing.
Let that resonate.
Do you see the difference between what we do now and what David did then? There is an insistence, a righteous obligation to pay tribute to the One who has supreme worth. With that, there was also an agitated refusal to accept anything that would dishonor God by allowing someone, even in meaning well, to casually give him something to sacrifice. David would go on to pay 50 shekels for everything. It is estimated that by today’s standards he would have paid approximately $20,000-$25,000. Remember, he could have received it for free, with no cost. But David recognized that the fundamental element of sacrifice involves paying a price.
This system of bargaining with God has become an idol…exposing for many of us the god of comfort, fear, and laziness. We have insisted on gaining much by paying little. And why do we feel justified in that when we serve a risen Savior and King who made the most lopsided deal and paid the greatest price in the history of bargaining: His life, His very blood, for our lives? We must now follow the lead of David.
We can also learn from the three Hebrew boys, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. In the third chapter of Daniel they stand before King Nebuchadnezzar who had issued the decree for everyone in the nation to bow down to a golden image. They refused. And rather than giving into the god of the moment, “They trusted in Him [God] and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God.” (Daniel 3:28). This is the type of violent, indignant refusal we must have when this idol of bargaining with God rises up.
No more shall we carry on in seeking to gain much by sacrificing little. There is no bargaining. It is all or nothing. It is written that to offer our very lives as living sacrifices is a reasonable service (Romans 12:1). That is to say, at best, it is the least we could do. That is the currency of the Kingdom. Jesus led the way when His blood was shed. He may or may not call us to shed our blood for His Name’s sake. The Hebrew boys did not die physically that day. But they were willing to die. And I tell you in many ways they were dead before they entered that furnace. Because they were willing to die to what was popular in the culture they became so victorious that the same king who gave the initial decree would end up serving the very God that he once opposed.
That is the power of sacrifice. Even more, it is the power of obedience. When we make the decision to count the cost and pay the price it will cause even the ones who have rejected the God we serve to see Him for who He truly is.
So as we prepare to enter into 2016, let us examine ourselves and allow the Lord to reveal where we have attempted to bargain with Him. What is it that He has asked of us? What is He requiring? Where is He stretching and pushing us to grow up? Where have we resisted and pushed back? Let us repent. Let us respond with the reverence of David and the willingness of the three Hebrew boys…that we might walk in the fellowship of Christ’s suffering and in the power of His resurrection, bringing forth the standard in the earth in this New Year.
Tracy revealed in an earlier post that it costs what it costs.
Let us not forget that fact. By the grace of God, let us lay down all apprehensions. Let us go all in. Let us pay the price.