Posted: Mar 12

Counting the Cost

By Greg Rickel

I heard a great sermon on Ash Wednesday, by the Rev. Dianne Andrews of St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Port Townsend, Washington.  She quoted Mark Salzman's book, Lying Awake, in which he writes,

"No matter how many times we count the cost of following Christ, we are always in shock when his bill comes."

hearttreasure---copy.jpgI had to laugh out loud, and we do because we know it's true. There is a cost. If there wasn't it wouldn't be worth anything. That is the point of the passage in Matthew 6,

"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." 

This is a most quoted scripture and one that is often misquoted. You will hear people often transpose the "treasure" and the "heart."  It works either way, but transposing it does have a nuance. I think Jesus knew what he was doing when he stated it the correct way, for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Lent is a time to discern such things. Where is your treasure?

And of course, before you might know that, you may have to answer, what is your treasure? A very wise spiritual director once told me that most people are not qualified to answer that question for themselves. We have this built in denial to our reality, which more or less leads us not to be honest with ourselves. My spiritual director said, instead, ask those who truly love you. Get them to be honest. They will be able to see where your treasure is. I remember once, of the many times, my son played the role of spiritual director. He rather jokingly said that he wondered if he might get an appointment on my schedule. 

... Now that is truth! 

It is a struggle I continue to battle to this day, my treasure is order and response, and getting things done. I can be quite good at that, to the detriment of what, at least I believe, is my "treasure." Perhaps, in this Lent, a good discipline would be to take great stock in what is your treasure, to name it, to maybe even write it down, to make it real, to test it out with those who love you. To compare that list, the one that has the priorities as we think we live them, and the real ones. To do this is to know your heart.

To know and be in touch with your "treasure" is the first step to counting the cost of following Christ.