Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Write an INSPIRATIONAL or DEVOTIONAL piece (04/26/07)
TITLE: The Cost
By Ruth Neilson
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One man had to pay a financial cost to spare the lives of an entire nation because of the sin of pride. Against God’s will, the leader of the nation ordered a census of the nation to see how many fighting men he had in his army. A plague descended upon the nation and only the leader could stop it by offering a sacrifice. This man had the option to receive the required field free of charge, but answered the offer with this simple statement, “I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” He knew that anything that was sacrificed unto God had to be not only valuable, but had to cost the giver something.
The second man gave up his career, family, and friends. He was rejected by his peers and lived the life of a vagabond. His life was filled with suffering. Arrested, beaten, and interrogated, this man endured it all. In a letter, he wrote, “I have...been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again.” In the same letter this man lists how many times he paid the cost of serving God. This man didn’t complain, but instead, embraced the cost knowing how priceless it was.
The third man found himself in similar situations as the second man. He also went into the fray willingly. Unlike the first two men, the third man was in a safe haven in a foreign country. This man left the seminary in that foreign country to return to his native country; not because he supported the rising government, but because he realized his people needed him. A pacifist in nature, he found himself captured by the political intrigue of Nazi Germany and drawn into a plot to assassinate Hitler for the greater good. He wrote, “Grace without price; grace without cost! The essence of grace, we suppose, is that the account has been paid in advance; and, because it has been paid, everything can be had for nothing.” This third man ultimately paid the greatest price a man can give, his life.
Three men were willing to pay the price. The first was King David. The second was the man named Saul, later called Paul. The third was a twentieth century martyr, Dietrich Bonhoeffer. They paid the price. Are you willing to?
2 Samuel 24:24, NIV
2 Chronicles 11:23, NIV
Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. The Cost of Discipleship. New York: Touchstone, 1995 page 43.
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