“2 and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men[a] who will be able to teach others also.” (2 Timothy 2:2)
You can tell a lot about the stage of life you are in by listening to the conversations of your friends. If you are a teenager, most of the conversations will involve the upcoming weekend, the opposite sex, plans for your future, or the big game coming up. Young adults will find their conversations surrounding their career and relationships. Young couples will find their conversations revolving around their children at the varying stages of their lives. Not always, of course, but a good percent of the time.
whether I like it or not, I’ve noticed that I have moved into a different stage of my life in the past few years. I’ve noticed my colleagues talk a lot less about their babies and a lot more about the cost of their medications. Less conversations occur about their kid’s t-ball game, a lot more over the angst of paying for college. less about taking care of the kids, more about providing long-term care for aging parents.
Most disturbingly, I was at an event with several clergy a month or so ago. I was a bit surprised about how many of the conversations revolved around retirement. Retirement. That has always seemed like one of those far away events that you would deal with, you know, later. But the topic came up again and again.
It was a bit unsettling because while I’ve been doing this for a long time, I am nowhere near being ready to, or able to, retire. And so are most of my clergy friends. But while it’s a long way off they are making plans now. They are investing now in their retirement plans so that when the time comes they will be able to reap the rewards of their preparation.
It’s a simple idea, really. If you don’t invest in something, don’t expect to be able to get a lot back. That’s a sound principle if you are planing on retiring some day. Invest now as much as you can so that you can get more out of your retirement. It works for bank accounts as well. You can get out what you don’t invest.
We seem to have missed that principle when it comes to our spiritual life though. If we aren’t willing to invest in our spiritual growth, we aren’t likely to have anything to draw from. If you put little into your relationship with Jesus, you’ll not get a lot back. Bonhoeffer referred to it as cheap grace …”Cheap grace is grace without discipleship.”
Cheap grace is accepting Jesus as one’s savior, but not being willing to follow Him. Hoping for the benefit of eternity, without all that “picking up one’s cross” stuff Jesus talks about. It easier to be sure. Ask Jesus into your heart. Show up at a worship service on a fairly consistent basis.
But the problem with cheap grace is that it’s cheap. What doesn’t cost us much doesn’t give us much. It’s such a small investment we never really get a return from it. It’s only those who are willing to invest all of their lives that truly experience the benefit of the grace of Jesus in their lives.
What are you investing? Are you investing enough in your spiritual life? Are you experiencing a costly grace, or hoping to get by on the cheap stuff? Invest your life in following Christ. Go all in. In the end, it’s the only investment that matters.
Rev. Dr. Brian Jones <><