Being a Christian should be costly. Gathering for corporate worship should be costly. Loving and obeying Jesus should be costly.
It should be - but how come it's not always that way? Maybe because...
... We are greedy.
We are greedy with our money, with our time, with our talents.
Ecclesiastes 5:10 "Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income."
Luke 12:15 "...Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions."
We are greedy with what God has graciously given us and we refuse to remember that we owe everything we have and everything we are to Him. Christ gave up heaven to seek and to save you and I. We have no greater joy than to give all that we have back to Him.
... We are lazy.
We are lazy with our money, with our time, with our talents.
Hebrews 6:12 "We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised."
We are indifferent and spend money on things with no eternal significance and consequently strap ourselves from being able to give to those who need it most. We guard our time and insist on relaxing, pampering, and tinkering. We want our talents to be used in ways that garner the most attention, the largest revenue stream, or in what requires the littlest effort on our part.
Christ didn't come to be served, but to serve others. It is our great privilege to serve those He has redeemed and to reach out to those needing His redemption.
... We are fearful.
We are fearful with our money, with our time, with our talents.
Philippians 4:13 "I can do everything through him who gives me strength."
2 Timothy 1:7 "For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline."
We ask: "Can I trust the leaders of my church to spend my money wisely?" We forget that we are not accountable to God for how our church manages our money. We are, however, accountable to Him for regular and sacrificial giving.
We ask: "If I agree to serve in a ministry, will I still have time for [insert personal hobby]?" We forget that our time is not our own - we have been bought with a price and we are to glorify God with how we use our limited time on earth.
We think: "I'm not really gifted with kids/being in front of people/teaching/etc. so it's best that I not get involved." We forget that if we know Christ personally, He has given us unique gifts that will serve and edify the body. To bow out of service and ministry is to tell God our opinion trumps His plan for the greater Christian body.
... We are selfish.
We have selfish attitudes with our money, with our time, with our talents.
Philippians 2:5 "Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus."
If our attitudes reflected that of Christ Jesus, there wouldn't be churches struggling to meet financial needs or in finding laypersons to get involved and serve. Building debts would be paid, missionaries would be supported, and ongoing ministries would be staffed with eager volunteers.
Consider King David's response to worship and sacrifice. "But King David replied to Araunah, 'No, I insist on paying the full price. I will not take for the LORD what is yours, or sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing.'" 1 Chronicles 21:14
The Christian life of worship is giving back to God what is rightfully His in the first place - hands open and unclenched; wallet open without stinginess; calendar open without trivial restraints.
Did you know October is Pastor Appreciation Month?
What if, out of obedience to what we see in God's Word, we begin to give and serve extravagantly? Lavishly, even. Not only would we bless our pastors, we would impact our churches, our families, and our communities.
All the while bringing glory to Whom glory is due.