Several years ago I received two rightfully deserved traffic violations. The speeding tickets not only impacted my wallet, but also my reputation (driving a full church van) and possibly my ability to drive (impact my commercial license). Once I began to consider the cost of heavy peddle driving my habits began to change! We as followers of Jesus often believe several “Christian Myths” that encourage us not to evaluate the cost of our sin.
This past week in our series “Live with No Excuses, Love with No Regrets” we looked at the account of Achan and his sin of disobeying God’s instructions. We like Achan can fall into the trap of excusing our disobedience. He admits to coveting the items that were to be devoted to God from the conquest of Jericho. His sin would cost his life and those of several of his family members that were probably complicit in the sin. He bit on temptation of greed and disobeyed God’s instruction. The question he obviously did not ask was, “What is the cost?”
Many years ago an acquaintance in the ministry failed morally. Yes, he justified his behavior with “rational-lies.” He also failed to see the real cost of his sin. Caryl and I attended a regional fellowship where Pastors and Wives were challenged to be strong in the face of these temptations. The speaker, who ministers to these situations, offered powerful Biblical guidance and a number of practical helps. The one that has stood out to me all these years later is, “Is it worth it?”
Achan succumbed to the temptation taking a beautiful Babylonian robe, silver weighing 200 shekels (about 5 pounds) and a bar of gold weighing 50 shekels (about 1.25 pounds). The value of these items today would be around $3,000 depending on the cost of the imported garment. It is hard to say what a “day’s wage” was at that time but using the New Testament wage of a Denarius a day (about 15-20 cents) the value would be $15,000-$20,000 dollars. Assuming the higher value we need to ask ourselves, “Was it worth it?”
I mentioned earlier that is was my realization of the cost of speeding that began to change my driving behavior. It was not only the cost and my reputation as a pastor,but also the loss of God’s blessing. We also fail to recognize we do not sin in a bubble, but that other people are affected by my choices. Achan’s sin not only cost the lives of his family, but also those of 36 soldiers. Let me leave you with one passage as you are challenged to count the real cost of your disobedience. “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” (Galatians 6:7–8)
-Pastor Joe Parkinson