If the call of Christ is too harsh or if what he requires is too much to ask, then I would venture to say that we have either never met him, or we’ve forgotten who he is. If our reading of scripture is riddled with “Did God really say…?” or we explain away the unpleasant parts by writing it off as a product of a bygone era, then our view of Jesus is very small. Christ didn’t mince his words when he called us to take up our cross, or to die to self, or to lose our lives for his sake; and he wasn’t joking when he said that the way to life is narrow and hard. Jesus said, “Follow me,” and then he made his way to the cross on Calvary. Yet we are still surprised by the hard things he calls us to, and we still find the need to soften the blow of the teachings of Christ and lighten the implications they have on the lives of the hearers, including ourselves.
Jesus says that the Kingdom of God is like a man who stumbled on a great treasure in a field. So, this man then hides the treasure and sells all he has so he can buy this field. To the rest of the world, he probably looked crazy. Why would someone sell all he has to buy that worthless, undeveloped field? But you see, when the man sees the field, he sees a treasure of immeasurable worth. Everything he has pales in comparison to what he would gain, and this truth gave him the boldness to ignore the judgement of all those calling him crazy. When he saw that field, he saw vast riches, but everyone else who saw the field barely even saw it at all.
This is what I mean when I say that if we believe that following Christ is not worth the cost then we haven’t met him or we’ve forgotten about him. Just like the field might have some pretty trees and flowers in the spring, Jesus may have some good and wise things to say. However, neither of them are worth the cost of everything we’ve built our lives on because we have not stumbled upon the treasure in a long time if ever. We don’t see its worth and value. All too often, Jesus isn’t worth a second glance and we barely see him at all.
And so maybe you have met him, and maybe there was a time when you “stumbled upon a great treasure” like Paul on the road to Damascus. And this treasure of Christ was so important and valuable to you that you dropped your entire identity like Paul did for the surpassing greatness found in Christ. But maybe that seems to be a long time ago now and you are struggling to see the treasure in the field. We are human, after all, and we easily forget truth. We often fear the apparent humility of the field and the poverty of letting go of everything because we are not believing there is any richness to be found in our humility and submission to a king who is shockingly meek, humble, and ordinary in appearance. It is in these times when we forget about the riches we have found that we begin to ask ourselves, “Is Jesus worth it?” At first this is a question of doubt. But when we actually attempt to answer it, it pushes us to a decision. It uncovers our heart’s deepest desire, and it reminds us of what is true.
So, is he worth living for? Is he worth dying for? Is he worth the hard and narrow path?
Is Jesus worth it?
I know that I have met Jesus, and I have seen glimpses of the treasures in store for me. So, when I remember the suffering Christ endured to purchase me; to take me from the deceitfully easy road leading to death and place me on the narrow, hard road; to take me out of a dying people and call me one of his own; when I see the loneliness, rejection, beating, and crucifixion he endured to purchase me for himself; It is then that I see my sacrifice will ultimately be a gain. I may painfully lose my life for him, but I know I will find myself with more joy and richness than I could ever imagine. Following Christ will kill me over and over again, but as my faithful Jesus has shown me each and every step of my life: those recurrent moments of death are when I realize that I am more alive than ever before.