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The Cost of the Panera Gospel


            Wistful. It’s the only way I can describe it.  She was clearly a grandmother holding her grandchild on one of those formica top tables at Panera bread.  She tried to elicit a baby “coo” as grandmothers are want to do.  The child was wrapped tight in one of those fuzzy warm blankets while the mother stood in line casting backward glances at grandmother and child. 

            And I reflected on the privilege of that grandmother—to hold her grandchild, at Panera on a cold winter day.  In my own mind, I see my kids growing up, and perhaps they will end up in distant cities or even foreign lands bearing the torch of the gospel.

            With some sadness, I realized that I might not hold my grandchildren—at least with any regularity.  A bitter, selfish thought I must admit.

            But as I considered my own plight, I thought of the thousands of missionaries who’ve gone to jungles, mountains, villages, and the remotest parts of the earth.  Why?  An unrelenting passion for the gospel of Christ and its spread.  History is full of those stories. 

            With those missionary treks, children and grandchildren were born—at a cost.  Those children might have so very few moments with grandparents, and being held tight in a fuzzy blanket, at a Panera on a formica covered table. 

            I thank God for those pioneers who carry the gospel to those lands and cities.  I thank God for those willing to forsake their comfort for the discomfort of the gospel.  Indeed, the gospel comes with a cost.  It is a painful one, personal, and wistful.  

            Yet in the long tomorrow, I suspect those missionaries, parents, and grandchildren would all say that the radical life is the best way of all.  Truly, am I willing to give up my Panera moment so that one more might know the riches of His glory?

            What about you?

About Bill High

Bill is CEO of the Signatry: A Global Christian Foundation. He works with families, individual givers, and financial advisers to share the foundation’s message regarding biblical generosity and charitable giving. He is the co-author with David Green of Giving It All Away and Getting It All Back Again: The Way of Living Generously: » Learn More

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