Hi this is pastor Ken and these are my thoughts on a Thursday…opportunity cost
There is a consideration in personal or business finance called opportunity cost. If our money is going to be used best, opportunity cost has to be contemplated. The term is simply defined as the opportunities that are no longer possible for us once we decide to use the available funds for something else. For example, suppose I want to buy a new recliner or open an IRA with a Christmas gift of $1,000. If I buy the recliner the opportunity cost is that I cannot fund the IRA. I am 55 years old so if I fund the IRA and leave it there in a relatively safe mutual fund growing at a rate of approximately 5% until I am 72 years old, the fund will likely be worth about $2,335. So if I buy the recliner it doesn’t really cost me $1000, because I have to factor in the opportunity cost considering that, the recliner really cost me $2,335. If I fund the IRA and never have any available money for a recliner going forward, I have an IRA worth $2,335 but I had to sit in an uncomfortable chair for 17 years in order to have the money. That is opportunity cost.
This week I was speaking with a cancer survivor. They were telling me that they had just been for a check-up and had completed the compulsory testing associated with it. Though they had received a good report there was still some bitter-sweetness to the news. Because they had already experienced cancer they had the awful knowledge that though they were getting a clean bill of health for now, there is the looming possibility it will not always be such good news. Having had cancer myself, I understand that thought process and why it can keep you from thoroughly enjoying a good report.
I conveyed to this person what I shared with all of you in a previous podcast entitled Worst Case Scenarios that was published back in September of this year. I shared the additional experience I had of recognizing that cancer could have ended my life here on earth and allowed me to begin my new one in heaven with God. The person I was talking with attested they too had experienced those same thoughts and had wondered from time to time (especially when experiencing other difficulties) why God had not allowed them to go home to heaven and avoid all the seemingly unnecessary problems. After all heaven is perfect, what would the point be of leaving us here when we could be there? Opportunity cost.
The following scripture is about opportunity cost. Philippians 1:19-25 (NLT) For I know that as you pray for me and the Spirit of Jesus Christ helps me, this will lead to my deliverance. For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die. For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. But if I live, I can do more fruitful work for Christ. So I really don’t know which is better. I’m torn between two desires: I long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me. But for your sakes, it is better that I continue to live. Knowing this, I am convinced that I will remain alive so I can continue to help all of you grow and experience the joy of your faith.
Paul was saying that there were two sides to the equation. If he died that would be good because He could then go to be with Christ, which he said would be better for him. The flip side was that if he lived he could do even more for Christ as his testimony would increase and he would be able to see the results of it in the lives of the Philippians he loved so dearly. That, Paul decided was the greater good and so he said he was convinced he would remain alive to continue to help the Philippian church grow in faith. Paul was considering the opportunity cost of his very life.
I shared with the cancer survivor I was speaking with that the two of us had examined this very thing, the opportunity cost of our lives. We had to come to an understanding that if God had not yet decided to take us home to be with Him, then there must be a greater value in our continued life in this world. Cancer survivors are not the only ones who should recognize this truth daily. God’s word says that our days are numbered and only God knows the number of them. In other words, only He knows how much time we have left on this planet and that because He has not chosen to take us home yet…there must be greater value in our continued living here.
This morning I was reading a devotional that is a part of my time in God’s word each day and the author made an important point along these very lines that I am not sure I had ever considered. Life here in this world holds my only opportunity to live in faith. Once I am safely in heaven I will be able to live by sight because everything I will ever need for eternity will be right there in front of me. Life here is the only place I can place my trust in Jesus to get me through a trying time. In heaven, there will be no more difficulty and trials. Life here is my only opportunity to face persecution for His Name’s sake. In heaven every knee will have bowed and every tongue will have confessed His Lordship. Here are my only opportunities to pray with someone or comfort someone in need of such ministry. There no tears are allowed. Here is the only opportunity I have for the amazing privilege to help someone see their need for Jesus and help them find their way to Him. Once in heaven the time for that will have expired.
Would going to be in heaven be awesome? Absolutely! Make no mistake, if I meet Jesus face-to-face in the next five seconds it won’t be soon enough! If I don’t though I will recognize it is because the opportunity cost is still too great. Let that hit you…as amazing as heaven will be…until He takes you home to be with him in all of His splendor and glory…you are worth more to him here!
So now, understanding that your everyday life on earth has incredible value to Jesus, make the most of it and…Go be Awesome!