SALE! Up to 40% storewide.
That's what the sign said in the window...but in reality the sale only applied to a few items. Apparently "storewide" means something different to them than it did to us.
But it did get me thinking about how the modern Church often uses misleading slogans to get people inside and how different that is to the way Jesus taught. He never sought to mislead people into thinking they were going to get a discounted ticket to the pie-in-the-sky-when-they-died. His teaching was often filled with stories of suffering and hardship and trials and crosses and dying. These stories were often hard to understand and when the numbers of followers began to fall, He asked those who made up the core if they wanted to leave as well. No deception...no tricks...no manipulation...just the harsh reality of life in a fallen, broken world that wants nothing to do with their Creator.
No discount for Jesus...His aim was to pay the full amount. Did He want a discount? For sure...in the Garden He prayed: "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from Me." But He added: "Yet not as I will, but as You will." And He drank that cup to the dregs...100%
Am I committed to His kingdom cause 100%? I know I look for discounts, not just in the clothing department, but in the life department as well. I don't like to struggle, but, if I am honest, I have learned more about the Lord's character and His love during times of hardship than during times of ease.
And what is my goal in life anyway? Isn't it to know Him? Indeed, it is. To quote St Paul: "I want to know Christ - yes, to know the power of His resurrection and participation in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead."
There are no short-cuts to get to that goal and I know that I have not yet obtained all this. But this much I do know: there are no discounts worldwide. And so we press on...