"Love is a most costly commodity. The more you are willing to pay, the more valuable the prize. The question is, are you willing to pay the price?" ~Johnny Lingo, "The Legend of Johnny Lingo." Dir. Steven Ramirez. Video. Turtles Crossing, LLC 2003
I awakened this morning with the question, "how much do you want?" spinning over in my mind. The story written by Patricia McGerr of Johnny Lingo and his 8-cow wife is one of my favorite legends (you can read a condensed version of it here. The 2003 movie adaptation strays from the original story in some areas, but the underlying theme is the same in both.
My thoughts this morning, however, were not from a standpoint of making sacrifices for love, but making sacrifices for the anointing (which, when you come down to it, ultimately is about love, but not in the romantic sense presented in the Johnny Lingo story). It is an often overwhelming paradox that the more I learn about God and the more time I spend with Him, the more I feel like I don't spend enough time with Him. Could this be a religious spirit pushing me to faith through works instead of salvation through grace? Possibly. But more likely it is simply that I just can't get enough of Him--and since Scripture shows that He can't get enough of me either, it looks like that's a good thing.
So why the question?
God requires different things from different people according to their callings and the ministry to which He's called them. Some are called to lives of fasting and prayer like Anna in Luke 2. Some are called to leave home and family to serve on a mission field. Some may have to sacrifice the good opinions of those around them. For some, it's giving up television and/or secular music. For some, it's offering their lives in the sacrifice of martyrdom.
The bottom line is that He's looking for obedience on the most basic level in our lives. There is great power that comes with the anointing of the Holy Spirit, but it only comes at a great price. As He sees we are willing to do whatever it takes to be like Him, He is able to trust us with more. Anna was one of the first mouthpieces of the Gospel, a recognized prophetess, and favored with one of the earliest-recorded encounters with Jesus, but it came at a price--84 years as a widow compared to 7 years of marriage in a culture where the worth of women depended so heavily on fathers, brothers, husbands, and sons, and a lifestyle of constant fasting and prayer.
If I could rewrite the quote above, I would change it to say "the anointing is a most costly commodity." God has purposes and callings for each of us, and more than anything He desires relationship with us. The more we respond to Him and the more we desire Him, the more of Himself He gives to us. The "responding" process, however, is where we face the crossroads. What price are you willing to pay?