counting the cost
by Michah Osborn
Find out more about the ministry of Free Will Baptist Home Missions at www.homemissions.net.
My name is Micah Osborn. I am 18 years old and second oldest in a family of seven children. My father is a Free Will Baptist home missionary to West Tennessee. We moved from Davis, North Carolina, to Cordova, Tennessee, in 1998 to start a mission work. In the past year, we have begun another mission work just outside of Memphis in a small town called Oakland.
I remember when Dad said we might be moving to Tennessee. I was only six or seven years old at the time, and my first questions were, “Can we keep our cats? Will I be able to visit? Will I have to get rid of my toys?”
At first, I thought the idea of moving sounded cool. But eventually, the thought began to hit home, and I realized I would have to leave my school, my church, my neighborhood, my oceanside home, and my pets. Basically, I had to leave everyone I knew.
My only friends outside of school and church were the Aycocks, missionaries to Brazil, and I only saw them when they were home on furlough. I felt devastated and lonely. It made me sad to leave my friends and my kitties.
Through that experience, I learned that God never promised being a Christian would be easy. In fact, He taught me that sometimes God asks us to do things that seem incredibly hard. It reminds me of Christ’s message to the crowd of people in Luke 14:25-33. He told His listeners that to be disciples they had to hate their families and their lives and take up the cross to follow Him.
This doesn’t mean we should loathe our friends and relatives. It means if we let our relationships keep us from following God’s will, we would be better off to hate our friends and family.
I realized I had to follow God if He was leading my family to the mission field. If we stop following God midway in our walk, we are just like those we are trying to reach. If you start building a house and stop when the frame is finished, you are still as cold and homeless as you were when you first started. When it comes to running the spiritual race, we should “run, that ye may obtain” (1 Corinthians 9:24). We must be willing to do whatever God asks of us.
We recently returned to my hometown for a visit and found everything changed. My friends had grown up, moved away, or married. My old house is about seven feet taller and renovated, and I hardly recognized my neighborhood. The oceanside view hasn’t changed, though. It is still as beautiful as it was the day I left. Of course, that is God’s creation. It will always be perfect.
My hometown was more beautiful than when I left, but not exactly the way I remembered it. This reminded me that we should always look forward and never look back to what we left behind. We should look ahead to the crown and the beautiful mansion on Gold Street that God has promised us in His Kingdom that will never change.
“…all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” –Romans 8:28
Even though we are sometimes asked to pay a high price in life, that doesn’t mean God will let us go broke. I have often heard that whenever God closes a door, somewhere He opens a window.
Sometimes, when we look at our lives, we see a glob of black ink, but God sees a work of art in progress. All the trials and tribulations of our lives will eventually make us stronger and give us wisdom we can pass on to other believers.
We can comfort those who experience a similar situation or help others avoid mistakes that have hurt us in the past. As one old saying reminds us, “When a clay jar is full of cracks and cannot carry water, the light of God’s mercy can still shine through.” In the grand scheme of things, God will always make sure everything happens for the benefit of His Kingdom.
The missionary experience has taught me that counting the cost is like adding to a heavenly savings account. I know treasure is waiting for me in Heaven when I “retire” from my mission field.
Today, all is well in my world. I have new friends. I am closer to my relatives. I have a loving church family, and I have found a special friend named Andy. We study our Bibles together, and he has been a tremendous companion in my walk with Christ. Oh, and God even gave me a new kitty!
Looking back now, I thank God for Andy, my new friends, my new church family, and my newfound knowledge. Being a missionary has deeply impacted my walk with Him, and I know God was thinking of my well being every step of the way.
We won’t be moving so far this time. I won’t have to give up my new friends this time around. Now, I better understand what it means to count the cost. Now that I am older, I will have a bigger role in helping to develop this new Free Will Baptist church. I know that God has big plans for my family, the new church, and me. I can’t wait to see them unfold.
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end” (Jeremiah 29:11).