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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Write an INSPIRATIONAL or DEVOTIONAL piece (04/26/07)

TITLE: The Cost
By Ruth Neilson
04/29/07


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Three men separated by over a millennium stood in the face of history and made their choices either to ignore the world and suffering around them or to do something about the situations, no matter what the cost.

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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This article has been read 595 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 05/07/07
Very thought-provoking! I hope I would be as brave as these men...your writing is excellent and inspiring.
Sheri Gordon05/07/07
Very well written -- flows nicely, and reads beautifully. Wonderful message -- interesting how you pulled those three men together. My only problem is, I don't think I could do what any of them did -- this really leaves me feeling inadequate. (But that's my own problem.) You wrote a very good, challenging devotional.
Catrina Bradley 05/07/07
You have great writing skills. You write very intelligently - to an audience with above-average reading levels. My only complaint would be your telling of King David. Those not familiar with that OT story (including me) might find it a bit confusing. :) Very nice job, a convicting piece.
Cat
Jacquelyn Horne05/07/07
Sobering thought. Are we willing to pay the price?
Myrna Noyes05/08/07
We have just seen part of a video on the life of Bonhoeffer, and it is a riveting story. I also have his book, "The Cost of Discipleship." David and Paul are favorite biblical characters of mine. You chose well in deciding the three people to use in illustrating your important message. Good job! :)
Joanne Sher 05/08/07
I was definitely convicted by this one. I did find the description of David a bit harder to follow than the others, but your point was very well made with me! Excellent.
Lynn Mosher05/09/07
Very well written. I loved it.
Donna Emery05/09/07
Very inspiring! I loved these stories and these are men worth emulating. Thanks for sharing it
Sara Harricharan 05/09/07
Short and beautiful! I really enjoyed your short autobiographies of these three men. Very compelling and inspiring! Great job.
Rita Garcia05/09/07
WOW! Food for thought! I really enjoyed the comparisons and links you made between these men.
Marilyn Schnepp 06/30/07
Great inspirational piece, but not for the simpleton. It takes a "thinker" to delve into this masterpiece, especially the King David one...which I'll have to re-read, as it was a bit confusing-as I know that counting the troops was an "error" on his part. Great job however...with some deep thoughts within it's inspiring message. Very creative and nicely done.