At the end of every month, millionaires and single moms alike look at the books to examine the bottom line. A rich man wants to know if his well-planned investments yielded a profit. A single mom on a budget is praying she has enough pennies to pay the bills.
When I read Matthew 19, I see men who’ve left it all behind to follow Jesus and want to know the bottom line. You see, the disciples expected a much different Messiah – one who would set them free from political oppression. Now their pockets are empty and they are wondering, “What’s in it for me? Is it really worth it?”
I must confess I’ve asked the same questions in the quiet of my heart. If I say no to selfishness and choose to serve the Savior with everything, will I regret the sacrifice? Will I live a scarce life? Does living “sold out” for Jesus really satisfy?
Jesus is telling us to count the cost. Discipleship requires us to forsake everything to follow Him. But, the forsaking doesn’t begin in our bank accounts. We must lay our very hearts on the altar.
Jesus offered up His life for me on a cross. The bottom line is I owe Him everything. Because of Christ, I am rich in joy. I am overflowing with love. I have inexplicable peace.
Betty Stam was “sold out” and understood the bottom line. The daughter of missionaries to China, she returned to the States for her final year of high school and decided to attend Moody Bible Institute with hopes of returning home to work with her family. But God had other plans. She felt a tugging toward Africa – a country where she knew no one, but she saw a need for the gospel. Prayerfully, she fully surrendered to follow whatever path God chose for her:
“Lord, I give up my own plans and purposes, all my own desires, hopes and ambitions, and I accept Thy will for my life. I give up myself, my life, my all, utterly to Thee, to be Thine forever. I hand over to Thy keeping all of my friendships; all the people whom I love are to take second place in my heart. Fill me now and seal me with Thy Spirit. Work out Thy whole will in my life at any cost, for to me to live is Christ. Amen.”
In 1931, Betty Stam obeyed the clear call to reach China for Christ where she married John two years later. Their baby Priscilla was just months old when communist bandits raided their mission station. John invited the murderous men inside, and Betty served tea and cake. Despite the grace extended, the Stams were imprisoned and then paraded in the streets on a twelve-mile march. When an onlooker asked where they were going, John replied: “We do not know where they are going, but we are going to heaven.”
Betty Stam laid down her life at age 28. This world will tell you she wasted her life, but Betty invested in wealth this world cannot take away and received her full reward. Her testimony of faith has inspired others to carry the light of the gospel into the darkest corners of the world.
When we consecrate ourselves to God, we think we are making a great sacrifice, and doing lots for Him, when really we are only letting go some little, bitsie trinkets we have been grabbing, and when our hands are empty, He fills them full of His treasures.—Betty Stam
True treasure is found in a fully surrendered life. As we close out this week of study, let’s examine our hearts and ask ourselves how wisely we are investing. Let’s purpose to march toward heaven. We may never face a martyr’s death like Betty Stam and the disciples, but we must carry our own cross and follow no matter what the cost. The true bottom line is this: “Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.”
Keeping the Faith,
Lyli Dunbar enjoys karaoke in the car with her husband, digging into Bible study with the girls, and reading 12 books at a time. A writer, speaker, and mentor, her burning passion is to know Jesus and to make Him known. Join her at lylidunbar.com to find fuel for a wildfire faith. You may also connect with Lyli on Facebook, Instagram,Twitter, You Tube and Pinterest.
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