The deal you get when you follow Jesus

I am a bargain shopper.  I always get the sale items, use coupons, and so on.  Yesterday I went to a local grocery store to pick up a few things.  There was a buy one get one free deal on one of the items.  I also got 50 cents off per item when you purchase 6 items from one sale, meaning I got $3 off.  I also had a couple of $1 off coupons.  When I go to the store nowadays, I find it nearly impossible to look at the cash register ringing things up and know if I’m getting the deal they advertise.  It is no easier when I look at the receipt.  Sometimes I look through my cart and figure out what the total should be and then when they tell me the total, I know if it all rang up correctly and I got the deals I expected.

One time at Martin’s Food Market I had forty packs of 500 count napkins in two carts.  They were on clearance.  When I got to the register only some of them were ringing up right.  I had made a mistake.  We finally figured out that the plain white ones were the regular price.  It was only the ones that had a printed design on them that were on clearance.  So I put the white ones back.  Sometimes we act as if dealing with God is like trying to get the deals at the local market.  Sometimes we do not get the deal we thought we were getting.  You might say we question if things are “ringing up right” with God.

There is a missionary from West Virginia, Marilyn Uhl, in Africa right now from our WV Annual Conference of the UMC, who is very sick.  She is a 60 something woman who sold everything a few years ago and moved to Kenya to start a school.  She has been diagnosed with both Malaria and Brucellosis.  What kind of deal is that?  She needs your prayers.

One of my best friends in the ministry, Tom Beckette just lost his 61 year old wife to cancer.  He’s been serving a church in Logan, WV, doing community dinners to feed the homeless, started a chaplaincy program at the local hospital, was instrumental in opening homes to help people get off drugs, and so much more.  And He loses his wife and ministry partner.  What kind of deal is that, God?  Something did not ring up right.

Medina Tucker, one of our good friends from back in Mason, just lost a brother.  Her mother is very sick.  Her husband lost his job with the power plant a couple of years ago.  She loves Jesus with all her heart and she is and has been going through more than anyone can bear.  That is not the deal we expect when we follow Jesus.

“Look!” Peter replied (to Jesus). “We have left everything and followed you. So what will we get?” ~ Matthew 19:27

Here is the difficult truth.  There is no promise of comfort, wealth, or health when you give your life to Jesus.  The deal is not a fairy tale, “happily ever after” in this life.  When you sign up to follow Jesus, you get Jesus.  He does not keep you from the pain of this life.  He walks with you through the pain of this life.  And He uses the pain of this life to make you more than what you were.  He makes you more like Him.  And that is the deal.  And what a deal it is.  It is the deal of this lifetime, and the next eternal lifetime.

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