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Called to Costly

My phone buzzed in the dark hours of the night a few weeks ago. A friend distraught by a misunderstanding with a boy. Through weary, blurred eyes, I read her texts. She asked me to pray. To pray for her heart and for understanding. I offered the word clarity – I’ll pray for that, sure.

And then I offered the word cheap. The word resonated in her, as it does in me. I’ve felt it before, too.

We know cheap. Cheap when texts come only after the filter is lost to alcohol. Cheap of him to offer his love at a cost to her heart and body. Cheap of me to say stinging words to someone I love. Cheap of them to hurl accusations and insults and profanities at people whose souls they don’t know. Cheap. Cheap. Cheap.

As Switchfoot so aptly sings, “We were meant to live for so much more. Have we lost ourselves?” We are created for more than this. We, as Christians, as the human race, as people on this planet, are created for more than what the dictionary defines as, “costing very little; of little account, shoddy, of decreased value, costing little labor or trouble.”

We are a people who have sacrificed true intimacy for cheap sex. We have sacrificed deep relationship for Facebook friend requests. We want the cheapest food and clothes and shoes and items. But it all has a cost. Sure, your wallet may have more money, but cheap costs you heavily. Cheap intimacy erodes your soul. Cheap food wreaks havoc on your body. Cheap clothes and shoes wear out more quickly. Cheap items break. In the end, cheap costs us more than costly ever could.

As I lay in bed that night, phone in hand, I heard in my spirit, “We are called to costly.” This isn’t about how much you spend on a meal, or a car, or a new pair of shoes. This is about your soul. About your spirit. About eternity. Purity is costly. Intimacy is costly. Depth is costly.

At it’s very antithesis costly buries cheap under a pile of worth. OH – that we would know we are called to costly.

It’s like the parable of the hidden treasure in Matthew 13: “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.” What kind of man would sell all he had IN HIS JOY for a field? Only the kind of man who knew the worth of something so costly, he had to sell everything for it. Total abandon. Total sacrifice. That’s what we are called to.

Or, the woman with the alabaster jar in Luke 7. She takes a costly jar of perfume and pours it on Jesus’ muddy feet. And by costly, we mean around a year’s worth of wages, costly. Not your run-of-the-mill Chanel No. 5, was it? Out of love and adoration of the man who she believed was the Savior, she gave everything she had. And she received the greatest gift of all – forgiveness of sins.

In relationships. In our vocations. In our families. In our community. We are called to costly. We are called to toil the land we’ve been given. We are called to dig deep, sell off the stuff of this life, to plant our lives in the dirt of this world and bring the kingdom of God to it.

The Switchfoot song continues, “We want more than this world’s got to offer… We want more than the wars of our fathers. Everything inside screams for second life… we were meant to live for so much more… we were meant to live.”

May we be a people who let go of cheap for the costliest, most valuable pieces of life. That longs for eternity. And longs for the lover of our souls. And may we be so inner-connected to the Holy Spirit that we hear his voice and know where he’s leading us.

The cost is high.

Yet, we are called to costly.

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