I confess, I don’t like to part with my brass. I’m not a miser. If a thing is needful and worth what it costs, I am all in. But I don’t get there quickly or casually. In this, I am my father’s son. My childhood Saturdays were consumed by running errands with my dad. We drove all over town, comparing market prices on Borkum-Riff pipe tobacco. My father was not about the convenience buy. Before Google, he used gasoline to fuel his comparison shopping. He would agonize over simple purchases and use yellow legal pads to analyze his options. He would not part with his brass unless he could prove it was worth it. As Wendell Berry noted, for my Dad, “the Depression was not over and done, but merely absent for a while.”
We all want to know that the things that are truly costly in our lives are ‘worth it.’ Our education, vocations, investments – our love, our deepest commitments, are they worth it? Are the things that cost the most, worth the cost? While true that “to love any good thing at a cost, is a bargain.” All too often, this perspective can only be discovered in retrospect. In the middle of the costliness of loving any good thing, the yellow legal pads are constantly analyzing. ‘Is it worth it? Is he or she, worth it?’
The angst of that question, ‘Is he worth it?’ puts its finger on the pulse. Deep love is deeply costly. Self-love, or selfish love, view this question as one of convenience not cost. But love and costliness are directly proportional. As one grows, so will the other. “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13). Love and costliness track together. ‘Is it worth it? Is he or she worthy?’ How many times have you spoken this to the darkness?
In his Messages to Seven Churches in Revelation, Jesus had hard words for his beloved bride, the church. Her love for him is costly. And growing even more costly. She must face external threat and internal turmoil. She is tempted to love herself more than Him. Or to love Him less than herself. She struggles with purity and commitment and the purity of her commitment. She is often complacent, apathetic, and neglectful. She questions whether, ‘to love Him at a cost, is a bargain.’ ‘It is worth it? Is He Worthy?’
We ask the same thing. Not out loud of course. But in the quiet hours and in Valleys of Shadow. Following Christ is costly. Bonhoeffer rightly wrote, “when Christ calls a man, He bids him to come and die.” ‘Is He worth it? Is He Worthy?’ God is kind and gentle with his children. He knows our anxious thoughts. The Revelation paints a dramatic picture of sacrifice and final victory. Through it, God reveals ‘what is and what is to come.’ But the climax of this picture is not in its last brush-stroke, but in its first. In Revelation 5, the real question is posed – the question that answers all others. “Is He Worthy?” And the answer? “He is!”
Join us this week as we examine Revelation 5 and answer the question, ‘Is He Worthy?’ We meet from 5:00 – 6:30 pm, outside on The Pavilion at St. Andrews Anglican Church at 8300 Kanis Rd in Little Rock for worship. Get directions here or contact us for more info. You can also join us on Facebook Live @RiverCityARP or on YouTube. For the Order of Service, click here.