Friday, April 13, 2012

Counting the Cost

"...He is the kind of man who is always thinking about the cost" (Proverbs 23:7).

This text deals with hospitality and how it is shared. This host apparently was very grudging with time and money and things. In fact, he couldn't enjoy his company for thinking of his losses rather than the gains of companionship and the profit to mind and spirit that comes from fellowshipping. He gives not for the sake of love and friendship; rather, from a seeming unworthy and base motive. This is known as mendacity or hypocrisy. Too, if we accept someone's hospitality, knowing the person's reason is insincere, then we partake of the same sin.

"It is more blessed to give than to receive," we are told. Likewise, there is a graciousness in receiving, too. If it is right to give, then it is right to receive. Some good people are always giving, but balk when someone wants to do them a good deed. If there is a giver, then there must be a receiver. In fact, if we refuse to allow a friend to do something for us, then we are not granting our friend his or her opportunity to be a nurturer.

Jesus loved and lived to give, but there is a poignant moment when He accepted what He considered a great gift. "A woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table" (Matthew 26:7). Certain of the disciples counted the cost: "`Why this waste?' they asked. This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor'" (v.26:8). But Jesus accepted her gift, and said to the critical and hypocritical zealots, "Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me ...What she has done will also be told, in memory of her" (Vs.10,13). Jesus did not count the cost of this act of supreme love; He accepted the sacrifice it represented.

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