Counting the Seconds vs. Counting the Cost

 

A few weeks ago, as I was driving home from the beach, I thought, "I wonder if Tiger is winning the PGA Championship." Then I immediately thought of several ways that I could obtain this information within seconds, even though the tournament was being played 1,903 miles away. I could flip on the radio, and 710 ESPN will have updates every 20 mins or so. I could hop on the internet on my phone (while hiding it from cops) and quickly get this information within seconds.

Often times, when it comes to obtaining information, we are impatient when cell service is bad, the internet is down, or the TV has bad reception (yes, I still have a "rabbit ears" antenna!). We 'count the seconds' until we can obtain this information. In fact many successful industries make it their sole purpose to make the world smaller, to make you and me more "connected" to anyone and anything from anywhere.

I really do love this. I love that I can follow the Angels from Chino, even if they're playing in Chicago. I love that I can communicate instantaneously with great friends in Israel, England, Australia, New York, Texas, Washington, and basically any other location. However, I have seen in myself and in those believers around me a tendency that our "information age" has created. Everything is so simple, so efficient, so "google", so instantaneous- except spiritual growth. I can get you any information you may need in seconds (though if you ask me to do it for you I will send you a snide link to www.lmgtfy.com). But you or I cannot be like Jesus in seconds. We cannot learn the intracacies of God's Word or God's character in seconds. We cannot successfully evangelize to our friends in seconds. We cannot kill our sin in seconds. We cannot counsel each other through trials in seconds. Spiritual growth, discipleship, pursuing Christlikeness is something that bears fruit in years. It is a grand task for which we must count the cost.

Much of my spiritual struggle in my pursuit of Christ in post-college days has come because it is not easy, it is not "efficient" on the surface, and it doesn't always grant instant gratification. I also see many peers and fellow church members who seem to think that sanctification should be structured more like a Google Search or a Starbucks Drive-Thru.

But I humbly remind myself and you that we must count the cost. We are giving our lives to Jesus, and he is taking us on a journey of knowing him and becoming like him. You should pursue him this second, but results may not appear for you this second. His plans and his ways are much grander and much bigger than we can imagine. True commitment causes a pursuit of Christ, a study of His word, a commitment to church & discipleship to last for decades, not seconds. May we not allow our "counting the seconds" culture destroy our "counting the cost" discipleship.

"Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’"

Ryan Mann