For everything there is a price to pay. Everything worth having costs something. General Dwight D. Eisenhower said, “There are no victories at bargain prices.” The Lord said, “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many that go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matt. 7:13-14). Each person in life chooses. Are we willing to pay the price?
To pay the price we need to know the results desired. The better the desired results, the higher the price. “For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask more”( Luke 12:48). Christians live by higher standards than others. In a world of perks and privileges that accompany a climb of success, little thought is given to the responsibilities of the upward journey. John D. Rockefeller Jr. said, “I believe every right implies a responsibility; every opportunity, an obligation; every possession, a duty. Too many people are ready to assert their rights, but not to assume their responsibilities.” It is priceless to find a person who will take seriously his responsibility. Big dreams plus low commitment equals a nightmare. Excellence costs more than average.
Further, to pay the price, those around us must understand and be willing to pay the price. “After these things He went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, ‘Follow me.’ So he left all, rose up and followed Him” (Luke 5:27-28.) There is a difference between being committed and being interested. When we are interested in doing a thing, we do it only when it is convenient. When we are committed to something, we accept no excuses. We are not looking for people who are merely interested but who are committed. Commitment is the only quality above all others that enables success. Lou Holts said, “The Kamikaze pilot who was about to fly fifty missions was involved – but never committed.” For others to be committed they need to know the cost. They need to know the sacrifice demanded to accomplish the task. They need to know the task. Only then will others know to what they are committing. If the people will not commit, do not waste your time. A burden is defined as trying to talk people into something they don’t really want to do. We make a difference with people, who want to make a difference, doing something that makes a difference.
Also, we can determine a person’s destiny by the price he is willing to pay. The word competent gets used to mean “barely adequate.” But, competent can also refer to its root origin of “complete.” So, competent people have everything they need to do a particular job and do it well. Competent people share four things in common. First, they are committed to excellence. Second, they never settle for the average. Third, they pay attention to detail. Fourth, they perform with consistency. Highly competent people give their best all the time. Almost is not good enough. But, rest assured people will not pay the price when all they do is gripe about how much they are asked to sacrifice. Discipline is doing what we really don’t want to do, so that we can do what we really want to do. It is paying the price in the little things so that we can buy the bigger things. Dale Carnegie said, “If you do the little jobs well the big ones take care of themselves.”
There are three areas of discipline that we must possess. First is disciplined thinking. We will never accomplish much if we do not use our head. If we keep our mind active and regularly take on mental challenges, we will develop the kind of disciplined thinking that will help us to do whatever we endeavor to do. Second, disciplined emotions. People have just two choices when it comes to their emotions: they can master their emotions or be mastered by them. We should not let our feelings prevent us from doing what we should, or drive us to do things we shouldn’t. Third, disciplined actions. Sharpening our minds and controlling our emotions are important, but they can take us only so far. Action is what separates the winners from the losers. Our actions always reflect our degree of discipline.
Next, we will continue to grow according to the price we are willing to pay. Commitment comes before anything else in the life of the Christian. Because Nehemiah had it and drew it out of others, the people finished the wall in 53 days, despite much adversity. Their great accomplishment so thrilled Nehemiah he wrote, “When all our enemies heard of it, and all the nations around us saw these things … they were very disheartened in their own eyes; for they perceived that this work was done by our God.” In order to complete our task we must make a great commitment to the great cause. We must not let fear cloud the view of our future. And, we must pray about everything and gain God’s favor. Above all we must keep moving ahead despite the odds against us. When we face a great challenge, cultivating these characteristics will give us the best opportunity for success. For success we must be willing to sacrifice, keep growing, help others along the way, and be unwavering in the face of great odds.
Finally, Paul continually paid the price (2 Cor.4:16-18). He grew inwardly as he paid the price outwardly. So we are not giving up. How could we! Even though outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making a new life, not a day goes by without His grace. Paul saw the big picture. The hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There is far more than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we cannot see – they are going to last forever.
by Rickie Jenkins
Suggested reading: Wooden: A Coaches Life by Seth Davis for an example of people willing to pay the price.