images/from_the_pulpit.jpg

 

During the Great Depression, a man wanted to buy a gift for his wife’s birthday. With money being scarce, he decided that a bottle of perfume may be the one thing he could afford.

 

Walking into a gift shop, he asked the clerk for a bottle of good, cheap perfume. The clerk, being somewhat surprised, looked at the man with pity - or contempt (he was sure which) and said, “There is no such thing.”

Though we might consider such a story humorous, it is not when compared to the fact that many people are looking for a religion that is good, but cheap. They want something that will satisfy every longing in their heart, but will, at the same time, cost little in the way of commitment. The answer to their search for such a religion is the same as the man’s search for good, cheap perfume. There is no such thing!

Jesus called for men to follow after Him. The word “follow” means to “walk in the way with.” Jesus did not call in for a day, a week, a month or even a year. He called them to a lifelong commitment to Him.

Jesus also taught that all who would follow Him should count the cost, for discipleship is, indeed, costly.

Many then, as now, wanted something that would make them feel good about themselves, something that would make them smell good without being good. They wanted something that could easily be splashed on and cover the problem of sin without actually solving it.

As Jesus spoke to His disciples one day, He told them of the things that He must suffer. Peter, impetuous and often impulsive, rebuked the Lord, as if to forbid that these things should happen. Jesus said to them all: “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross, and follow Me.” (Matthew 16:24)

Many people today want to attend services when it is convenient, sing a few songs that make them feel good inside, say a few prayers when they are in trouble and even give a little money if they can spare it; hoping that, somehow, this will all sway the Great Judge!

What is really needed is a good cleansing, the putting on of Christ that He my cleanse us inwardly. Then there must be a surrender of self, wholly and completely, to God and the sacrifice of our own will to His. This is the perfume that is acceptable unto God, and it is costly.

To deny oneself is to make great sacrifice. We are people, who are by our very nature, want what we want when we want it.

So great is our desire for self-gratification that we often refuse to consider the desires of others, even the desires of God. May we each be willing to put God first, others second and live peaceably with all man.

- Pastor Jerry L. Dunn, Oak Street Baptist Church

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