I was nineteen when I was introduced to Jesus. The relationship took off like a wildfire. I got rid of dirty, terrible, secular CDs (some of which I have repurchased since), I quit drinking and swearing and eventually, I left college for Jesus. He called me up one day and told me to be an intern at my church. It was terrifying because it amounted to paying money to take classes, go on trips, and serve at the church.
I picked up an application one Sunday after service got out and began filling information in. Yes, I was saved. Yes, I had a job. Did I smoke? Well, yes. I was still trying to kick that lovely habit. The packet required essays and all sorts of information. It stopped short of requiring a urine sample to ensure that I was indeed, drug free. Page after page of answers brought me to the section that dealt with payment. The program was $2500. Really, this amounted to nothing but at the time, sounded like a lot of money for an adventure I was unsure of in the first place.
I had been working at a pizza place for three years. I was the assistant manager and still wasn’t making anything, but the cost of the program was less than tuition at Boise State had been, so I figured I could pull it off. Somewhere along the lines, in my early Christian experience, I had learned a cute little prayer. Somebody said something along the lines of,
Ok God, if it’s Your will, then it’s Your bill.
I wasn’t interested in being disciplined with my money, so I tried it on God one day. The reply was funny. He didn’t concede that He had never thought of that. He never said to expect a check in the mail. Instead the impression I was left with was,
Even if it is God’s will, it’s my job to pay for it.
Trying to live within the bounds of the Canon, I tried to find a verse that supported this. I always test the any notions I get in God’s word. No proverbs offered any help. Nothing in the psalms gave any support to the fact that God has to put up cash to get things done. Instead, I found stories that offered support in favor of my experience.
John the Baptist had his head cut off, because he called Herod on the carpet for marrying his brother’s wife. God gave him standards to live by.
Stephen performed wonders and pointed people to Christ every chance he had. People who disagreed lied about him and the man was stoned to death as a result of God’s call on his life.
David refused to kill the man who had been anointed king and it almost cost him his life on more than one occasion.
Ezekiel had to cook over fecal matter in order to present a message to God’s people.
Isaiah had to walk around naked for three years. God was trying to catch Israel’s attention.
Jesus may have been God, but His flesh felt the pain of whips, thorns and nails.
It seems that God may or may not provide for His will to be done. Regardless, it’s lived out in the blood, sweat, anguish and fatigue of His people. We do what we do because God gave us the vision. His will might even demand it and really, it isn’t a bad thing because most of the time, we enjoy the sacrifice.