I started this study by considering our universal desire to live a great life, to lift ourselves from mediocrity and into a cause that truly matters. But yesterday I considered the young ruler, who was one choice away from living such a life, but wasn’t willing to bear the cost that it required. For as much as he wanted eternal life, he didn’t want it enough to clear that one, last hurdle.
Earlier I spoke of Moses being called to lead Israel out of captivity, but initially he shrunk from that calling as well. Fortunately he faced his insecurities and extended himself into the role that God was trying to give him. Imagine the incredible life he nearly turned away from!
Jonah, too, was reluctant to meet his great calling. He literally ran from his purpose and tried to sail away from the voice of God. He was given the great opportunity to save the souls of an entire city and tried to revoke the offer!
Esau had a wonderful birthright, yet he sold it all for a mess of pottage. He may have gained some worldly comfort, but he lost his legacy.
Even Jesus had his moment of pause when facing the great atonement. It was the act that he had been born to perform, but still he asked whether it was possible for this cup to be removed from him. Thankfully he paired that request with “not my will, but thine, be done.”
So yes, we dearly want to have our great and important story, we want to do something that is legendary and lasting. But we have to realize that true greatness is hidden behind great sacrifice.
This was true for me as well. I always wanted to have a great purpose, yet it was years before I was willing to face the hurdles of confession and addiction recovery that stood in my way. Any time I tried to raise myself to a life in partnership with God I saw those looming ahead and quickly ducked back out of view. At times I thought mediocrity was all I would ever lay claim to in this life. It felt like it would kill me to face any true healing.
And in a sense, it did. When I finally decided to stand up to my challenges and submit to God’s will I paid a great price. I felt my old self dying away and it was a genuinely terrifying and painful thing. I can honestly say it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
However…it was worth it. Before paying the price I wasn’t sure that anything would be worth such a cost. Now I know that the reward was deserving of any cost whatsoever.