The Cost of Excellence!

Posted By: Dieuner Joseph | Monday, March 04, 2019


For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Luke 14:28

The first time my daughter went to the supermarket to shop with her money she was shocked how expensive groceries are. I purposely did not go into the store with her because I did not want to be tempted to pay. I wanted her to learn some of the mechanics of adulthood. As expected, she came out of the supermarket with a traumatized look on her face, and before I had the chance to ask her what happened, she told me: “dad, it is expensive being an adult.”

In today’s text, Jesus is telling his disciples about the cost of discipleship. He wants them to understand there is more to discipleship than merely praying and following him from town to town. He knew that these men were religious and committed to his teachings. They knew the mechanics of being the followers of a revered Rabbi, but they did not know the cost of living as authentic disciples of Jesus Christ.

The disciples were content to be associated with Jesus. They did not mind following him around from town to town, but they were not willing to pay the price for living like Christ, praying like Christ, serving like Christ and loving like Christ. Thus, Jesus exposes their spiritual posturing and puts them on notice that if they really want to be his disciples they have to (1) love him more than family, and even their own life. (2) Be willing to bear their own cross.

“Bearing their own cross” implies a willingness to die a shameful death for the sake of Jesus. It requires total surrender and a desire to turn their lives over to the cause of Christ. It is sacrificial in scope. The only way to do so is by the power of the Holy Spirit. It is having the mind of Christ so one can be inclined to live for him and die and for him without hesitation.

Many Christians say they want to serve God in excellence. What does that really mean? After all, the only way we should serve God is in excellence. Why are most Christians not serving God in excellence? They don’t love him more than their own life. That’s the message the Holy Spirit poured into my spirit early this morning when I asked him why is it so hard for believers, including me, to serve God in excellence.

The Holy Spirit told me that most Christians love the idea of being saved. They enjoy being part of the Lord’s Church and appreciate the fellowship with other believers. Some even find satisfaction in sharing their time, talent, and treasure to strengthen the body of believers. However, they are not willing to pay the full cost for discipleship. Thus they cannot serve God in excellence.

Most Christians know the mechanics of serving God. They pray, go to church, give their offering, volunteer to help the needy, and do their best to live ethically. Many serve in leadership positions or are influential members of their community. To most people, these folks are models for excellent service to the Lord. However, in the eyes of God, their service is far from being excellent.

Serving God in excellence begins in the heart. It is our attitude of humility, our aptitude of holiness, and the altitude of our submission to the will of God that makes our service excellent. Jesus was highly critical of the Pharisees, Sadducees, and other religious leaders and called them hypocrites. These men were highly committed to their relationship with God. They prayed and fasted regularly. They studied the Scriptures faithfully and served at their Synagogues devotedly. They were also spiritually arrogant, boastful, and prideful. They had a disdain for anyone who was not like them. Thus Jesus did not find anything excellent in their service to God.

Serving God in excellence begins with a willingness to do everything to the glory of God in a spirit of humility and with spiritual integrity. Whereas we are obligated to give our best to God in our service to his kingdom; that is not what makes our service excellent. I know many gifted and committed preachers and pastors, teachers and evangelists, choir directors or ministers of music that are sticklers for methods, processes, and excellent outcomes. They are highly competent in the mechanics of what they do for God. Yet they are not willing to pay the real cost for excellence--which is holiness.

Whatever level of ministry we are in, we have to think about the cost of serving God in excellence. That cost has nothing to do with giving money, time and talent. But it has to do with giving our heart, mind, body, and soul to God. It is only when we are willing to sacrifice our personal agendas, decrease our desire for notoriety so that God can be lifted up for all to see, prioritize godliness over process and mechanics, and love like Christ loved, that we can begin to serve God in excellence. Excellence to God begins with a spirit of holiness.

Prayer- Blessed Lord, search us, I pray, so that our service to your kingdom can be holy and acceptable to you.

About The Author

Rev. Dieuner Joseph is a dynamic leader, disciple Maker, Writer, Talk Show host, and Spiritual counselor. Reverend Joseph is the founder of the Imani Temple Baptist Church and the Disciple Maker Ministry. He is a skilled Bible teacher who carefully and responsibly exegete the Scriptures to make them relevant to today’s readers. Through his Blog and weekly Christian magazine- The Wednesday Word- he seeks to provide Bible based instructions for dealing with the socio-political issues of today.

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