A few years back I had a really pretty Mazda Protege. It was the nicest car I've ever owned. It also cost me dearly. Just a few months after the purchase, I drove to Colorado and about 11 hours into the trip I was creamed by an 18-wheeler and my car - while still drivable (though not legally) - was officially totalled. This is not one of the shinier moments in my life.
A couple of hours later I had finished with the police reports, been towed away, and some very handy tow truck guys had managed to reattach my drivers seat and push down the lid of what used to be my trunk. I got back in my car and went on to my destination.
2 days later, in the dead of night (hoping for less traffic) I drove my sad little car home. I got there around 7 or 8am, talked to a few repair guys who assured me that my car was totalled, and drove home to sleep and ponder what the next step was.
Sometime that afternoon, a 1997 Nissan Sentra with 80,000 miles was parked in my driveway. My co-worker, Lisa, had an extra car lying around and decided to let me use it as long as I needed it, or I could buy it for $1500. This car, was and is, simply a blessing.
But early 2008 I had to do a repair on it and with the rental car the bill came to around $500. I grumbled to myself and pondered buying another car. "500 is one-third of what my car originally cost... this is silly."
Late last year I had yet another repair that cost quite a bit. Again I grumbled saying I should just get another car.
This month, seeing more repairs on the horizon I again grumbled that a new car (and by new I mean used) was "necessary".
I know that when I first got the car I appreciated it. But, for some crazy reason, since it only cost 1500, I continually assume that it's not worth repairs. I would never have assumed that about a $5,000 car. And I was certainly willing to go to great expense to save my Mazda if it could have been saved.
But no, since it cost me little, I keep finding myself with the mindset of "it's not worth the trouble".
That's a really long story to say this:
It's easy to go to church, act Christ-like and say you have faith. But it's of little cost to you. You have few obstacles beyond what every single other person faces on this world. Yet you state your faith. Proudly. Boldly. Until challenged by an unexpected cost.
But there's a different kind of faith. The faith that watches your premature baby die and says "I will praise the Lord."
It's faith that forsakes it's family and spends 19 months in Africa witnessing to tribes and trusting your very life to Gods hand.
It's faith that builds underground churches, as people assemble knowing that discovery by their countries would mean sure imprisonment if not physical suffering.
It's faith that requires you quit your job and open an group home for abused teenagers.
It's faith that requires you walk from your home, to your neighbors house, and ask them if they know about a friend named Jesus.
It's faith that makes you to spend time in prayer and bible study, when you want to watch tv.
It's the faith that has you to pray with your whole heart, even though the last 3 times you prayed someone would be healed - they weren't.
That is the faith that you have paid for with your life - every single day of your life. That is the faith that you will not allow anyone, especially that evil fiend of doubt to come in and steal.
That's the faith that will change the world. That's the faith that changes you. That's the faith that you value more than your life. And you value it enough that you're willing to give it your LIFE, not just your death.
Many a folk will say that they would die for Christ. Yet somehow, the challenge of living it is too hard.
I've begun the process of babying my little Nissan. I appreciate her more today as I realize how foolish it is to give her up for a $300 dollar repair, just because she didn't cost me as much as another car could have. I was blessed to have it at such a low cost. But my car is worth far more to me now. It is worth thousands of unspent dollars. That is why I am now willing to spend money on her, to keep her going and keep her in good shape.
Sometimes the true value of something isn't revealed by it's original cost. It's value is revealed by what the product brings to a situation. And as you realize it's value, you're willing to pay a greater cost for such an item.
So maybe faith hasn't cost you a great deal yet. Maybe it hasn't caused you a great deal of fear yet, or given you opportunity to look foolish in the worlds eyes. Maybe it hasn't required you to trust because of a broken heart yet.
But faith, is still faith. It costs. The difference is that some people choose to keep the cheap faith.
And others, finding one pearl of great price, sold all that they had and bought it.