Maybe you’ve felt the call to be a pastor or go into the mission field, but you’ve hesitated. You’re not sure you’ll succeed so instead of trusting God more, you’re just doing nothing. You’re asking, “Is the bittersweet cost of serving God too high?”
I get it! I understand entirely how overwhelming fear of failure feels. Maybe you need to see how God helps you build trust in Him first. Check out my blog about how your faith defines your trust in God.
There are costs to fully investing your life in devotion to God. But, my question is, why focus on the sacrifice when there are benefits too?
Benefits of Serving God
Jesus couldn’t be more specific when it came to the blessings his disciples would receive by following and serving him. The benefits (as outlined in Matthew 10) include:
- The Voice of the Spirit (vs. 19-20) – When you must answer it won’t be you speaking but the voice of Spirit giving you the words to say.
- Salvation (vs. 22b) – “…the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” When you stand firm Jesus says you’ll get through the difficulty – you’ll be spared. He also comforts you by saying even though the trouble may be severe, it will end. It will not last forever.
- Presence of the All-Seeing-God, El Roi (vs. 26-28) – Don’t be afraid of those who threaten you. God sees everything, always, and will reveal what is hidden and secret for your freedom from fear.
- God Loves People More than Anything (vs. 29-31). – because God loves people more than any other thing, you have the benefit of all He possesses. As you serve Him, you gain more knowledge about Him. You grow the kind of relationship most other people never reach.
- Jesus Knows You Personally (vs. 32). – The benefit of Jesus knowing you means that as you serve God, Jesus is acknowledging you before God – actively. Jesus knows your intimate hardships and prays on your behalf for God to meet your needs.
If you’re on the cusp of deciding to serve God or not, realize He promises ongoing-benefits during those times of sacrifice too by actively working day and night on your behalf. God never sleeps, or needs a break. He equips you with what you need, just at the right moment.
Costs of Serving God
Although Jesus points out the benefits to total devotion to God through serving, he doesn’t want you to be surprised by the sacrifices you’ll face when answering God’s call either.
Jesus taught his disciples about the costs in Matthew chapter 10:
- Work Hard (vs. 7-8) – Jesus told the disciples to heal people and to proclaim (preach) the gospel wherever they went. That’s a lot of work!
- Few Possessions/Money (vs. 9-10) – Jesus said not to take any possessions or money with them when they did the work. Jesus doesn’t want you burdened by carrying around your belongings either. If you are always worried about things and money your focus isn’t on the tasks he has called you to do.
- Rejection (vs. 13b-15) – Jesus is specific about what to do with people who reject you. He told you to first, take your peace back then he said to shake off the dust. He said they would receive judgment. You receive freedom.
- Physical Pain (vs. 17) – This verse warns the disciples they could face physical pain. Now, is that something you must worry about today? It could be a possibility depending on God’s plan for your life. But, reminding you of the benefits, God is always with you, working on your behalf.
- Arrest (vs. 19) –Will you get arrested for serving God? No, but you may face that kind of possibility because of the area where you serve.
- Broken Relationships (vs. 21-22) – Jesus isn’t sending you into the world to become friends with people. He wants you to prepare the way for him. That takes sacrifice.
- Persecution (vs. 23) – The fascinating aspect of this verse reveals you may face maltreatment in more than one place. No matter where you live, as a Christian, you could suffer the oppression of many types whether you’re actively serving God or not.
Jesus doesn’t surprise his disciples when he teaches them about serving God. He never said it would be easy but you’ll notice the faithfulness of God when He follows through on His promises.
I hope you are encouraged to answer the call or to continue serving God from wherever he placed you. Although the benefits outweigh the costs, Jesus wanted you to know the truth about full devotion to God when you minister to others for Him.