The Cost to Follow


Sunday afternoon my mom texted me the featured image to this post.  It is a picture of a grandchild of one of their friends.  I loved it!  It is one of those beautiful Kodak moments that could never be caught in a studio.  Makes you appreciate smartphone cameras.  We, like no time in history, are able to capture digitally life’s amazing moments.

Well as I looked at the image, I had deep compassion for my parents.  They too would have to bear the cost of my call to singleness. All of my parent’s friends have for years had grandchildren to enjoy, show off and love.  Actually, most of the people in my life have this joy.  The delight of squeals, discovery and life experience.  There are rare moments in the life of a child that are experienced by grandparents very differently than parents. But my parents will not be able to have this experience.

My calling to be single has closed the possibility of that chapter in their book.  I am compassionate to their plight.  It’s not as if I never wanted a wife and children.  Who doesn’t want to be normal? But God asked this of me, and I bowed and then embraced it.  Though I counted my cost to follow . . . I didn’t consider theirs.  When I was young, it was, “Katy, bar the door.” I was going to follow Christ, and had the passion to drop everything and run.  A young man can cast off restraint, hell or high water. But as I said, my counted cost didn’t at that time include theirs.

So I asked the Lord for a scripture, and He took me to Ruth.  Ruth had to die to her dreams over and over and that included leaving all to follow. First Ruth left her family when she married Naomi’s son.  Then she had to again choose to abandon all her people, as well as her country, to follow Naomi to an unknown land.

So how does Ruth’s voyage parallel mine? I hope in the ending.  Yes, my parents have had to pay a price for me following where He leads.  It must be awkward for them to have to explain me. Of course, people often give me the side-eye too.  The American church has no concept of such a calling to celibacy. I asked some friends recently, who have been all around Christendom, if they had ever met someone in the non-Catholic church with a call to be single. They said . . . no.

So what was the reward of Ruth’s choices, and how did it affect her parents? Well, the end of the story is that her lineage yielded to the enthroning of the King of kings.  Yes, Ruth, a Moabite woman, is in the direct line of Jesus, and her great grandson was King David, whose throne will never end.

The life that follows Jesus where He leads, and accepts the reproach and misunderstanding, will exalt Him.  I believe that I am bringing honor to my parents with the highest reward, one higher than many descendants.  I am living a life that bows to His Lordship, a life that gives way to the King of kings.

It is my belief that all of us who follow where He leads, enthrone the King.  Whether in a call to being single or to be married with children.  It is all about where the Lamb chooses to go in you.  As for His choice in me, I rejoice.

I wish that all were as I myself am.
But each has his own gift from God,
one of one kind and one of another.
To the unmarried and the widows
I say that it is good for them to remain
 single as I am.
1 Corinthians 7:7, 8

Jesus replied, “Not everyone can accept this word,
but only those to whom it has been given.
For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and
there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others—and there are
those who renounced marriage for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven.
 The one who can accept this should accept it.”
Matthew 19:11-12

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9 years ago

Oh John, what timing . . . This Sunday is ‘Grandparents Day!’ I bless God for allowing your Mom and Dad to bring forth, nurture and grace us with the future ‘Pa Enslow’–spiritual Dad to so many of us. I hope they read this blog to get just a small glimpse of how many you have touched–whether in person, on the phone, by mail . . . so many lives have been impacted by you, John, because of Christ and not just in the States but all over the world. God continues to mold you into a spiritual Dad who… Read more »

9 years ago
Reply to  Pauline

The family of God one day will be revealed as the only true family. I am sorry to say this, but in the Kingdom there are not earthly ties.

My earthly mum and dad may be there, but ties will be of a different nature. They won’t any longer be my “dad and mum.” Ties of slavery will vanish, and only Ties of Heavens (ties of freedom) shall remain.

9 years ago

John, this was so touching. Sam made an interesting point about the married as single, and singles as married. It reminded me that Martha recently said on a podcast how you had become a pastor, and so much more. How many rely on you in the ministry and FOR ministry. A great sacrifice, a great YES to Him that has impacted so many people.

9 years ago

Ok on a funny note….I saw the photo quickly then read the blog and wasn’t sure what you were saying about a grandchild of one of your parents friends…all I saw were the 2 dogs…so I was confused…then I looked again and saw the childs head there between the 2 dogs…and laughed at my thought originally of well your parents could have a grand-dog then…I heard they are really special too…LOL

9 years ago
Reply to  pearl

Note to self…must wear glasses when I read blogs from now on!!

9 years ago
Reply to  pearl


9 years ago
Reply to  Sam


9 years ago

As we enter into the places of giving up our Idols and the things and people we desire..And our silent hopes and dreams…As we surrender ALL to Him…tho the price to follow costs us everything…But look How much we gain…thank you …thought of this song…
Many of us have to pay the price to give it ALL to Him…He is our prize!!
Bless you!!

9 years ago

John, you have a “rare” seal on you. “Rare” is the word, and “weird” is the outcome. This is: “weird” in as much as the Kingdom is “weird.” Of that same nature of “weirdness.” Strange, unusual… rare. Precious. A kind of treasure to be unclosed. He makes single people as married, and He makes married people as single. I have seen it in MARRIED people and in SINGLE people too! He is “weird”, people. He is strange. I will also share something with you, John. I want other people to hear it. I know a man who received a calling… Read more »

9 years ago

Thank you for that, John. And thank You for that calling, Lord Jesus – the very real fragrance of that costly ointment has come to be shared with us too. I am reminded again of the little video that has been coupled with the song, “How Beautiful the Body of Christ…” there is a line that is sung “How beautiful the radiant bride” …. while the camera stops for a poignant and adoring moment on the actor who played John the beloved. Have always seen you, John, as representative in that pause. With that perspective, the blessing of Isaiah 54… Read more »

9 years ago
Reply to  LT

was just also prompted to Isaiah 54:13 Amp. “And all your [spiritual] children shall be disciples [taught by the Lord and obedient to His will] and great shall be the peace and undisturbed composure of your children.” Hallelujah! And the rest of that chapter too is ripe for the taking too …

9 years ago

LOVE the pic! It does cost EVERYTHING to follow Him but those who put their trust in Christ will not be disappointed. This is the narrow path; He is our inheritance and we are His. I suppose the family of God becomes more dear to us with each passing trial, suffering or rejoicing… but to everything we hold lightly. You are dear to us John.