As I’ve been reading in Scripture recently and praying for our youth group, I’ve been reminded that everything – every decision or sacrifice – is in exchange for something else.
I read a parable this morning that Jesus told of a master sending his servant to gather up all those who were invited to his feast (Luke 14). All of them made excuses. I got married, I bought a field, I bought animals… They exchanged a beautiful feast for these excuses.
A few days ago, I camped out on Luke 12:35, which is when this whole idea of exchange started to be impressed upon my mind. It says, “Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning.” This sounds so exciting as a Christian. ‘Heck yes, I want to be a ready servant who is waiting at the door for her Master to come back!’ But then I started counting the cost of what this meant. It meant staying dressed late at night. (I don’t know about you, but at the end of a long day, I want sweats and rest.) It meant there would be discomfort. It meant paying the cost of oil to keep the lamps burning.
Keeping ourselves ready for action and burning spiritually have the same requirements.
It’s uncomfortable and against our natural bent towards sin. It costs our sleep and many other things. It’s different for everyone. Maybe it’s literally monetarily costly for you. He might tell you to take in 11 children in need, support a missionary family, or tithe a certain percentage. Maybe its the costs of comforts, possessions, securities, success, friends, wants, desires, dreams, reputation, heartache, hardship… the list can go on and on, and the cost may look different to everybody. But here’s the reality: Jesus gave up everything – to be a man, and to die. He had no place to lay His head – no home. He had no money. He didn’t have worldly success, security or comfort.
But all of the “costs” we are called to forego are far exceeded by His promises. He promises joy and peace in tribulation. He promises the Comforter and Helper. He promises victory. He promises a Kingdom – a perfect kingdom. He promises eternal peace, joy, satisfaction and love (opposed to weeping and gnashing of teeth and unquenchable thirst). He promises goodness. He promises eternal life. He promises to give us Himself.
All of the costs are exchanged for a promise.
Exchange discomfort temporarily for eternal peace and life. Exchange bondage for freedom. Exchange facing hardship alone to hardship accompanied and supported by the Helper, Comforter. Exchange your sin for His righteousness. Exchange yourself for Him. Exchange the costs for eternal life. Exchange all for His promises.
What is He calling you to exchange in for His promises today? Exchanging your sleep for time with Him? Exchanging food for a spiritual filling? Exchanging alone time for time spent with and for others? Today, I want to exchange my “daily routine”/what I think He wants of me, to sit and hear His instruction for this day. I want to exchange “the norm” for His calling in today.