It’s a question that affects most of life. You probably don’t consciously ask it before every decision you make but it’s always lurking somewhere in the back recesses of your mind. You want to know how a certain course of action will affect you – will it affect you positively or negatively? Will it help or hurt? Will it benefit your life or detract from it?
And if the effect is negative, just how negative will it be? We can all endure some degree of pain or adversity but there’s a point beyond which we are not willing to go. We are not willing to pay the cost.
But often in life – probably quite often – the yardstick that we use to gauge our actions is, But at What Cost?
Should I drive 55 mph in a 25 mph zone? What will the cost be if I’m pulled over?
Should I go back to school for another degree? What will the cost be?
Should I leave my present job and take another one? What will it cost me?
Should I cheat on my income taxes? What will the cost be if I’m caught?
We face a hundred questions that arise during a typical day and we analyze the potential risks and rewards of our options.
When the cost is low we’re more likely to engage in the behavior in question.
When the cost is high we’re much less likely to engage in the behavior in question.
The yardstick, But at What Cost? is not intrinsically wrong. It’s kept a lot of people out of trouble. But it’s not the best way to go through life.
The better yardstick is, Is it Right? Is what I am planning to do the right thing to do or the wrong thing to do?
God is clear on this point. Whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin (James 4:17). In all of our actions, our relationships, our decisions, and our activities God has but one standard for us – Is It Right?
Determining your actions by the standard of Right instead of the standard of Cost will not necessarily make your life easier. In fact, it can make your life much harder. Sometimes it will cost you and the cost cab be high. But living by the standard of Right is the way God wants you to live.
Don’t sacrifice the difficult way of Right for the easy way of Cost.
Stay in the Word