Before anyone followed Jesus, he wanted them to count the cost. He said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23). The cost to follow Jesus is giving him your whole self. It’s true that some followers of Jesus will experience a higher cost for following him than others, but the commitment level must be the same. Following Jesus requires 100% loyalty—no matter what.
Here are a few stories shared by a Mercy Hill missionary of how our brothers and sisters in another part of the world are paying the cost of following Jesus. The cost they are paying is high, but their testimony is that having Jesus is total gain. Be encouraged by their faith in the supreme worth of Jesus!
The Object of Gossip and Insults
“This week, I was hearing a testimony of a woman who came into faith about seven years ago. When she did, she cleaned her whole house out of the hundreds of idols that she said she purchased in an attempt to find one of them who would hear and respond to her. In addition to these, she stopped wearing all the traditional Hindi markers of a married woman: a red stain in her part, a black and gold necklace, toe rings, and red bangles because each of them had a connection to a different god and should bring luck and blessing to her marriage. People in her community, including her unbelieving husband, were very upset; it looked like she was disrespecting him by walking around like an unmarried woman. It was shameful to the community, and she took an onslaught of insults and gossip for the decision. Everyday obedience has a price here.”
Belittled as a Servant
“Last week, I was in a home, sharing with a new family we had just met. The family was chatting with me and my national ministry partner. As we were continuing to get to know one another, the family turned to me and (right in front of my ministry partner) asked if she was my servant! While my jaw hit the floor, she laughed kindly and responded with so much grace that no, she was not, we were just friends. She told me later that she gets this question a lot when we share with families of higher castes. And yet, she still chooses to love those people and knowingly go into their houses to share with them while they look down on her for her place in society. She could easily hide out in her local community and not break the social code like this, but she knows even these people need to hear. Everyday obedience, again, has a price.”
“My next friend had been waiting years for his family to set his wedding. They finally chose a girl from a neighboring villagem, and he couldn’t stop smiling for weeks after he told us. However, as the weeks went on, her family began to make requests about the wedding. Their grandfather is a local political figure and committed to the country’s majority religion. He needed his granddaughter to have a traditional religious ceremony, one that included the worshiping of idols. After weeks of trying to explain and negotiate them out of these terms, my brother decided to cancel the wedding, bringing shame on his whole family. He knows it will be harder for him to find a potential bride now, but he could not compromise, paying the price for everyday obedience.”
Learning from Their Example
“I’m constantly reminded to look at my national partners and remember how different my life is from theirs. I may have sacrificed in a big way to leave my country, my culture, my church, and my family, but my local believing friends sacrifice differently. They sacrifice in daily obedience, in being outcasts and out of place in society in order to see the good news reach the lost. This everyday obedience has a price that I simply don’t have to pay in this moment. But perhaps this moment is coming for us in my home country when choosing to advocate for the lives of the unborn, when choosing to support marriage between a man and a woman alone, when choosing to reject that casually watching pornography is normal, when turning down career moves to place ourselves geographically among the lost at the dismay of our parents and mentors, when all these things start to cost us. One day very soon we are going to need to learn from our brothers and sisters around the globe what it looks like to pay a price for everyday obedience. I’m grateful for this front row seat to their sacrifice.”
“Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.” -Philippans 3:8
Learn first-hand from our brothers and sisters around the world by going with us on a short-term trip. Click here to learn more.