You may have heard of King David in scripture. He’s the one who slayed the giant Goliath, was on the run for his life from Saul, rose to kingship as an unlikely warrior, had an affair with Bathsheba, ordered the murder of Bathsheba’s husband and was father to Solomon.
But one of the things David was most notably recognized for in scripture was being a man after God’s own heart. We see that today in our account of David building an altar to God.
Here’s the quick backstory that caused David to build an altar. At one point during David’s reign, he called for a census to be taken so he could determine how many men could fight throughout Israel. At first blush, this act seems innocent enough. However, David’s motives for completing the census were wrong. After having many military victories, pride began to seep into David’s heart. In the moment of calling for the census, he wanted to boast in the power of his military instead of the power of God which had allowed for all the victories.
As a result of David’s sin, God sent a nasty plague wiping out 70,000 men. God put a stop to the plague and called David to build an altar on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. When David asks to buy Araunah’s threshing floor, Araunah offers it to David for free. However, David insists on paying for it. Read David’s response to Araunah:
“No, I insist on paying the full price. I will not…sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing.” -1 Chronicles 21:24
And there it is, friends. Boiled down into one sentence, the beautiful admission of following Christ – it will and should cost us something.
Jesus taught this idea as well when He walked the earth. Being a Christ-follower will cost us something. It will cost us our desires, our ambitions and our plans.
A pastor at my church back in Oklahoma City, shared his testimony recently on the cost of being a disciple. He shared that when he was younger, he had a deep desire to be married and his greatest fear was that God would call him to lay down this deep longing of having a wife. He bargained with God asking God to send him to a foreign country or to do anything else except being called to a time of singleness. And do you know what God did? He called him to a time of singleness. His voice cracked as he shared that he had to lay down his wants and desires for something greater. And you know why he’s denying himself? It’s because being a disciple of Christ will cost us.
Friend, anything without a cost is an opportunity lost.
We lose refinement; we lose humility; we lose the understanding of perseverance; we lose the value of sacrifice; we lose an opportunity to become more like Christ.
Let us take a cue from David and place ourselves on the altar to be a living sacrifice. Let’s make our own admission to God that we insist on paying the full price and laying our own lives down at the cost for something greater.
Following Christ will cost something and I hope for all of us, that we feel the pinch of sacrifice.