So here’s the story. We eat out. A lot. The kitchen is probably the least used room in our house. I can cook, but I just really don’t like to cook. And, I really hate leftovers, and since there’s just two of us now and we don’t let the puppies eat table scraps…well, what’s a girl to do?
Right. Eat out. I knew you’d see it my way. Brad does, too.
So last Thursday we headed to one of our favorites, Logan’s Roadhouse. After all, it has a great name and I could just live off of the rolls. I try to control myself because it always looks bad when I eat more than Brad. Anyway, Brad parks and we get out, and I’m instantly cold. Brad would tell you I’m the most temperature intolerant person he knows. I can take it when it’s 110 outside, but anything less than 75, and I’m freezing. So I say to Brad, “I’m going to ask the chic to sit us by the fireplace. I don’t even care if there’s a crying baby sitting next to us.”
Brad does not even pause to think. He immediately replies, “I’d rather just go to Belk and buy you a coat.”
Ok. I had to bust out laughing at that one. At 50-something, Brad’s days of crying babies are O.V.E.R. Well, that is until we have a precious grandbaby girl. Just saying.
But, I definitely got the message:
A. I could just be cold.
B. We could sit by the fireplace if there were no crying babies anywhere close.
C. We could delay dinner and make a pitstop at Belk first.
As it turns out, the fireplace wasn’t even going, and there were no babies in sight. And, Brad knows I could never go to just one store and immediately pick out a coat and be happy with it. Seriously, y’all. We’ve been married 23 years, so he knows. HE KNOWS. It would take at least three or four stores and lots of looking first before we might go back to Belk and actually buy the first coat I might have tried on, and by then we probably wouldn’t even be hungry anymore.
Anyway, his funny reply got me to thinking. We make most of our choices in life based on what we presume the costs versus the benefits to be. In Brad’s mind, the cost of a coat (as well as shopping – which he positively abhors!) would be well worth it for the benefits. I would be warm, maybe even giddy if I got a cute new coat, and he would not have to endure a crying baby. Small price to pay as far as he was concerned.
I think we take a similar approach with God many times. The conversation goes something like this.
Me: God, thank you so much for loving me.
God: You know, my greatest commandment is to love others.
Me: Right, God. I’m all about loving others.
God: You know, you have a friend (or a family member or a stranger) who’s really hurting, but you’ve not reached out to her.
Me: Well, God. You know how hard it is to love some people. Seriously, God. I sent her a card and I’m going to pray for her, but I just don’t think I can… I mean, You really don’t want me to… God, I’ve tried to help her before, and all it got me was heartache.
Or maybe the conversation goes something like this.
Me: God, I am exhausted.
God: You know, maybe it’s time you examine your priorities. I feel like you have me at the bottom of your list.
Me: I know, God. I don’t mean to. There’s just so many hours in a day. I’m so busy trying to take care of everyone else. You’re really on my mind, God, and after the holidays, I’m going to get better at doing my daily quiet time with you. I mean, I know I spent an hour looking for wreath ideas on Pinterest and another hour watching TV, but I was just trying to relax.
Cost versus benefit.
We’re all about obeying God, until we decide the cost just isn’t worth the benefit. And when I stop and reflect, I’m so ashamed. God never once … NEVER ONCE … even contemplated not paying the price for our salvation. And the cost He paid was beyond anything we can comprehend.
As Christmas approaches, and we’re tempted to stretch our financial budgets … pay more than reasonable … for that “just right” gift for someone, I want to encourage us all to stretch our spiritual budgets, too.
To pay the high cost to love someone. Even that family member who’s really hard to love.
To pay the high cost of sharing Christ with a complete stranger. Even though it’s out of our comfort zone.
To pay the high cost of time with our God. Even though it’s the busiest time of the year.
God didn’t hesitate. He thinks we’re worth it.
I pray my actions show Him I think He’s worth it, too.