Jesus was clear that the gospel is not for wimps. “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.” (Mark 8:34-35).
If following Christ is costly, then why do it? Why not go for the comforts and luxuries in this world? Why not live selfishly for our own pleasure?
I’m reminded of a choir teacher that felt a lot of frustration in her job. She would sing, yell, and work so much that she’d lose her own voice before every concert (she would resort to banging the furniture to get our attention). Her frustration stemmed from knowing how good the music could be versus how we sounded at the moment.
Why put herself through the angst? Because the performances were good and we won most of the contests we entered. And that was satisfying.
I think most of us feel the need for purpose more than we want pleasure. We want our lives to count for something important. We quickly see the emptiness of a comfortable life and we’d rather have the challenge and the fulfillment of doing things that make the world better.
Living for Jesus can be frustrating, even heartbreaking. We do it because we see how things are versus how they could be. We work toward a goal that ultimately glorifies God and saves the souls he created.
We believe the end will be worth the working and the waiting and the sacrificing.
It is not easy. But it’s good.