My wife and I are in the process of doing some renovations on our house. I’m getting a little too old and creaky to do things like climbing up on the roof, so we are looking for a construction company to come in and do the work. We’ll probably get more than one estimate. When we get it, we will have to decide whether the work is worth the price. But, if the work is important enough to us, we have to be careful not to get lost in the cost. If we wait until later, there may be more damage to the house, the amount of work will increase, and so will the overall cost. So sometimes it pays to spend your money wisely and just get the work done.
I know of several people who struggle with their finances. It’s difficult for them to make ends meet each week. Sometimes it has to be a choice between buying groceries or paying the light bill. That’s never fun. Because of their financial condition, they don’t feel that they can afford to give tithes or offerings to God. They have gotten lost in the cost and are missing out in the blessings that God has promised. In the Old Testament, God says, 10 “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the LORD of hosts, “(and see) if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.” (Malachi 3:10) And Proverbs 3:9-10 says, 9 Honor the LORD from your wealth And from the first of all your produce; 10 So your barns will be filled with plenty And your vats will overflow with new wine. While our modern-day tithe payer and free-will giver may not have much need for full barns and overflowing wine vats, he does have need of food, clothing, and shelter. David wrote, I have been young and now I am old, Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken Or his descendants begging bread.…(Psalm 37:25)
Notice it doesn’t say only when you can afford it. It says give from the first of what you earn–before anything else. Sometimes what God wants for us cost more than simple tithes and offerings. Think of how God could use us if we only trusted him instead of being lost in the cost. Think of how He used men of old.
What if Abraham had gotten lost in the cost of moving from his home in Ur of the Chaldees to an unknown land? 1 Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your father’s house, To the land which I will show you; 2 And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing…(Genesis 12:1-2) So Abraham did it and God blessed him as promised.
What would have happened if Noah had gotten lost in the cost of preparing the ark. He had to acquire all the materials he needed and he had to suffer the ridicule of his neighbors while building an ark on dry land. And what in the world was “rain?” But think of what purchased by that cost. 7 By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith. (Hebrews 11:7) Mankind would have ended if Noah had gotten lost in the cost.
What if Moses had gotten lost in the cost of leading the Hebrews to freedom from Egypt? He gave up a royal family and political position to become a shepherd on the back side of the desert. It took faith and obedience on his part to see what the cost bought. And he eventually he led the Hebrews as 29 they passed through the Red Sea as though they were passing through dry land; and the Egyptians, when they attempted it, were drowned. (Hebrews 12:29) Though he doubted at times, he counted the cost and followed through with God’s plan.
We recently met on Good Friday where we were reminded about the death of Jesus. With the recent “Passion” movie, most of us now have a much greater understanding of the horrible things that Jesus went through. 2 He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins–and not only our sins but the sins of all the world. He did not get lost in the cost, but paid it willingly. While Good Friday reminds us of the terrible cost He paid on the cross, we must remind ourselves not get lost in the cost of what He paid. Instead, we must remember what that cost bought–His resurrection and our salvation.