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The Bottom Line (Newsletter 4-2)

Robert Stroup

One rich businessman invested all he had in building up his farm, and with no thought of God. The lord said, “Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” (luke 12:20-21). This shrewd businessman invested everything he had. What was his return? No profit whatsoever. Worse yet, all of it was lost!

In the business world, the “bottom line” refers to the lowest line of the earnings report-the line that shows the net profit or loss for a particular fiscal period. The question is often asked, “What’s the bottom line? Did we make a profit or take a loss?” How much does it cost to serve Jesus? Jesus said, “For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?” (Luke 14:28). How much will it ‘cost me to serve God? What is the bottom line?

At first glance, it seems to be expensive. ”Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he
cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:33). The initial investment is huge- everything you have and all you are!
Paul asked, “What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you … and ye are not your own?” (I Corinthians 6:19). Even your time no longer belongs to you. Jesus said, “A certain man made a great supper and bade many: And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready. And they all with one consent began to make excuse … I have bought a piece of ground … I have bought five yoke of oxen … I have married a wife … Then the master of the house (was) angry” (Luke 14:16-21).

Jesus’ question to Peter was not merely, “Do you love me?” His query was, “Do you love me more than these?” Do you love me more than anyone or anything else? More than relatives, friends, jobs, homes, and recreation? When I bid you to come to supper, do you love me enough to lay everything else aside. On church night, do you love me more than a leisurely evening at home? When it is time for your private daily devotions, do you love me more than every distraction? When I need you to minister to others do you love me enough to follow my lead? In this day of “cheap grace” and “easy believism” Christianity, it is difficult to grasp the degree of surrender that Jesus asks of us. How much does it cost to serve God? The Bible’s answer is everything!

The rich young ruler asked the Lord, “What good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?” He was totally surprised by Jesus’ answer: “Go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor … When the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions” (Matthew 19:16, 21-22). He calculated the cost and decided that it was too pricey and that he had too much to lose. Peter watched that young man walk away and started thinking. “Then answered Peter … Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?” (Matthew 19:27). ”What is the bottom line, Lord? What will it end up costing me to serve you?” Jesus responded, “And everyone that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life” (Matthew 19:29).

One hundredfold plus eternal life! If I gave you one dollar and you in turn gave me one hundred dollars, what would this transaction have cost me? Absolutely nothing! When you have surrendered every- thing and received Jesus in return, it has not cost you a thing. You have gotten much more in return than what you invested. That is the bottom line! “The kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. Again,the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, . seeking goodly pearls: who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it” (Matthew 13:44-46).

What is the bottom line of one who chooses not to serve God? “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? For what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mark 8:36-37).

One rich businessman invested all he had in building up his farm, and with no thought of God. The Lord said, “Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:20- 21). This shrewd businessman invested everything he had. What was his return? No profit whatsoever. Worse yet, all of it was lost!

Why invest your life in a losing venture? It is true that one must count the cost before serving God. One should also count the cost before choosing not to serve Him. Have you counted the cost of losing your soul? Soon we will all come to the end of life. Have you invested wisely? What is your bottom line? Profit or loss?

Robert Stroup is the district superintendent of the Indiana District, United Pentecostal Church International, and pastor of Pentecostals of South Lake in Merrillville, Indiana.

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