Have you ever made a budget? Have you ever tried to make your income match your expenses? Have you figured out what you can afford to buy, and what is too expensive? Many people carelessly spend their money, and end up in bankruptcy; they lose their car or house because they failed to make the payments for them. If they had made the proper calculations, they would not have bought so expensive a car or a house.
Jesus spoke of a man who planned to build a tower. “For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.” Luke 14:28–30
In like manner, we must calculate the cost of salvation; how much does it cost to gain heaven and eternal life. Are we able to pay the full amount for it? Jesus said, “So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be My disciple.” Luke 14:33
“Enter ye in at the strait gate; for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Matthew 7:13–14
“He that loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after Me, is not worthy of Me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for My sake shall find it.” Matthew 10:37–39
These are the conditions for salvation that Jesus told His disciples. This is the price that they have to pay in order to be His disciples; this is also the price that we must pay if we want salvation and eternal life. There are about two and half billion Christians who claim to be disciples of Christ, but most are not willing to pay the price for it. They did not count the cost before they became Christians.
Christ is calling us to make up our minds; which one do we want to buy, Him or the world? We do not have enough means to buy both. This was Elijah’s message: “And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow Him: but if Baal, than follow him. And the people answered him not a word.” 1 Kings 18:21
They had not fully decided for one way or for the other. Millions have started to build their building of faith, but will never finish. They want to buy heaven, but are not willing to pay the full price; they want the world also. The full price includes all our time—not even one moment for the world. It includes all our money, not only a tenth part of it. We must give an account of every penny that we have earned, and how we use it. Of all of our talents that God has given us we must give an account, and that includes our speech, our singing talent, our strength, our influence, and also our eyes, ears, hands, and feet; we must place all on the altar of sacrifice. Many give part of these talents, and promise to give all later, but this is not acceptable to God.
“I have been shown that the most signal victories and the most fearful defeats have been on the turn of minutes. God requires promptness of action. Delays, doubtings, hesitation, and indecision frequently give the enemy every advantage. My brother, you need to reform. The timing of things may tell much in favor of truth. Victories are frequently lost through delays. There will be crises in this cause. Prompt and decisive action at the right time will gain glorious triumphs, while delay and neglect will result in great failures and positive dishonor to God. Rapid movements at the critical moment often disarm the enemy, and he is disappointed and vanquished, for he had expected time to lay plans and work by artifice.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, p. 497–498
“Again I call for the help that we ought to have had, the means that we must have, if anything is accomplished in this country. Let your hearts be drawn out in love for perishing souls. Obey the impulse given by High Heaven. Grieve not the Holy Spirit by delay. Resist not God’s methods of recovering souls from the thralldom of sin. To every man, according to his several ability, is given his work. Do your best, and God will accept your efforts.” –Ibid., vol. 8, p. 56
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went, and sold all that he had, and bought it.” Matthew 13:44–46
Did they sell all that they had grudgingly, and complaining, and asking, “do I have to sell?” No, they joyfully sold all that they had.
Although the field cost all that they had, the treasure is worth millions. Did they delay the purchase of the field with the treasure? No, they bought the field immediately. If they had sold ninety percent of their belongings it would not have been enough to purchase the field with the treasure.
The hidden treasure is Jesus, who is also the goodly pearl. Many Christians are without Christ and without the Saviour. They were not willing to sacrifice so much. However, a life without Christ is misery, it is unhappiness and a joyless exercise, and worth nothing. Ananias and Sapphira kept back something from that which they had promised, and for this they lost all. We need a place to live in, and we need a car for travel, but they are not ours anymore; they have been given to God. Our house is a place for someone who is homeless. Our car is for someone needing a ride, and our money is for the poor.
Do you think that without sacrificing all you have, that you will make it to heaven? Do you think that while wasting your time in vanity and watching worldly shows you will make it to heaven? That is not giving all. Do you think that you will make it to heaven while indulging appetite and eating forbidden foods? No, it is not possible. If you dislike someone, and have an unforgiving spirit, do you think that you will make it to heaven?
“The suffering Jesus, His love was so deep as to lead Him to give His life for man, was again held up before me; also the lives of those who professed to be His followers, who had this world’s goods, but considered it so great a thing to help the cause of salvation. The angel said, ‘Can such enter heaven?’ Another angel answered, ‘No, never, never, never. Those who are not interested in the cause of God on earth can never sing the song of redeeming love above.’ I saw that the quick work that God was doing on the earth would soon be cut short in righteousness and that the messengers must speed swiftly on their way to search out the scattered flock. An angel said, ‘Are all these messengers?’ Another answered, ‘No, no; God’s messengers have a message.’
“I saw that the cause of God had been hindered and dishonored by some traveling who had no message from God. Such will have to give an account to God for every dollar they have used in traveling where it was not their duty to go, because that money might have helped on the cause of God; and for the lack of the spiritual food that might have been given them by God’s called and chosen messengers, had they had the means, souls have starved and died. I saw that those who have strength to labor with their hands and help sustain the cause were as accountable for their strength as others were for their property.
“The mighty shaking has commenced and will go on, and all will be shaken out who are not willing to take a bold and unyielding stand for the truth and to sacrifice for God and His cause.” –Early Writings, p. 50
Why is it so difficult to give all to God? Is it not because we do not love Him, and we are not dead to the world? “And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to Him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.” 1 Peter 4:18–19
Judas had bought Christ, but then sold Him for a small price. Nothing is so expensive as sin. Even the smallest sin casts out your peace, your joy and happiness, and your salvation. Christ and the Holy Spirit are the price you must pay for sin. Is it worth it? What price did Adam and Eve pay for their little enjoyment? Pride is for sale, and the price is destruction. Covetousness is for sale, but the price is losing their houses and lands.
“And their houses shall be turned unto others, with their fields and wives together: for I will stretch out My hand upon the inhabitants of the land, saith the LORD. For from the least of them even unto the greatest of them every one is given to covetousness; and from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely.” Jeremiah 6:12–13. It is a terribly, high price to pay for covetousness.
Any sinful indulgence costs us a very high price. “And He said, A certain man had two sons: And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.” Luke 15:11–13. All the money and goods which he had he spent in riotous living, instead of spending to buy the field with the hidden treasure.
Sister White saw in vision heaven and the glory of it. She writes, “We all went under the tree and sat down to look at the glory of the place, when Brethren Fitch and Stockman, who had preached the gospel of the kingdom, and whom God had laid in the grave to save them, came up to us and asked us what we had passed through while they were sleeping. We tried to call up our greatest trials, but they looked so small compared with the far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory that surrounded us that we could not speak them out, and we all cried out, ‘Alleluia, heaven is cheap enough!’ and we touched our glorious harps and made heaven’s arches ring.” –Early Writings, p. 17
Isaiah writes, “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without mercy and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto Me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.” Isaiah 55:1–2
We sing in the gospel song, “Have you counted the cost if your soul should be lost, Though you gain the whole world for your own?”
Do not deceive yourself; pay the full price, which is all that you have, and heaven will be yours. Jesus will be your companion, and the Holy Spirit will fill your heart; then your joy will be full, and the peace of heaven will fill your soul. Amen.