Every now and then I think about the cost of an undertaking no matter how big or small - like what did we just spend on groceries at the supermarket? Of course, the more prudent approach is to plan ahead and budget for all the family expenses.
The same should be true in our overall lives and especially in our individual daily walk with God. In everything we do, we should count the cost. The Bible speaks of exactly this in Luke chapter 14 verses 28-33; Jesus has a talk with his disciples and tells them, "if you were to build a tower won't you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?" I always have enjoyed the practicality of Jesus! The idea here is that before someone does anything, the individual should understand the consequences of the task at hand and consider the cost of what it will take to complete the task.
With that being said, it is important for every potential disciple to be forewarned about the consequences of following Jesus and to consider the cost of being called by Him. A Christian leader should never give the impression to anyone that the Christian life is easy or without burden. Thankfully, we are called to give those burdens over to Christ in expectation that He will bear them for us. Also, the Christian life is not without storms in our lives, however, we are not called to ask God to remove the storms but we are told that Jesus will carry us through them.
As my family and I are preparing to return to a full time life overseas, we too must count the cost in aspects such as; the financial details, the lack of physical security, the loneliness can that come when serving others in ministry, of the unknown and others. Yes, the costs are high and there are plenty of them. However, similar to the cost of rejecting the call of salvation versus receiving it, the call to a life in relentless servitude outweighs the opposite. I want to be able to tell my children one day that I chose to receive the call and not reject it.
May you and I seek to serve our Creator, the God of Heaven and Earth, with all we have - whether it is to stay or go. And may we count the cost - remembering that He paid the ultimate price for us on the cross. -J/D
Over the past 10 years God has been faithful to me personally and to my family collectively. We have made mistakes. We have grown. We have been through good times AND on other occasions have had to take a step back (for a season) to put His calling into perspective.
Recently, God has shown me that it is time (once again) to leave my home country for a place that I consider my adoptive home - Brazil. Some people ask the question, "why go back"? And before I can resolve to answer that question - another comes to mind - why did I ever leave? I do get asked both of those questions often.
However, God has a way of doing things in His timing which I have learned to accept. Another question I get asked often is, " Since you have lived in a variety of places over the last several years, which is your favorite?" My response is that I do not have a favorite place outside of where God has me currently. Every place we have been has been full of relationships and learning experiences that have been invaluable. Stones that have been laid as foundations to look back on that have paved the way for the future as well as cherished memories that we will never forget.
As for the next step of the journey (which will start near the end of November); Carol, the kids and I will be spending a few months in and around Santos, Sao Paulo. We will then make our way to Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul. I look forward to returning to the city in Brazil where we first ministered in - as God has given me a vision for the ministry there. I am excited to share more in the coming weeks and months to come. J/D