Growing up as the youngest girl in a family of ten children there was rarely extra money for purchasing new clothes. Most of my wardrobe consisted of “hand-me-downs” from my four older sisters. By the time I was in fifth grade, I felt a longing to wear pretty new clothes like the other girls in my class.
There was a 4-H club at my school, where students could learn hands-on skills such as cooking and sewing. I thought perhaps they could teach me to make my own fashionable clothes. My mother thought it was a good idea too, so I joined the small group. The first project we learned to sew was a dark blue beanie cap. It was an easy lesson in how to assemble shapes of fabric by following directions from the pattern. As I learned more about sewing, I chose more difficult patterns. I soon found out, to my chagrin, that if I did not follow the guidelines exactly, my garment would sag, look ill-fitting, or have an uneven hemline. If I didn’t pay close attention as I stitched the seams, I would have to pull out the threads and sew the seam together again.
A trip to the fabric store, where I perused their pattern books, would make me feel eager to start a new project. After selecting a pattern, I would search for just the right fabric for making my own original garment. There were rows and rows of heavy bolts of fabric in myriad patterns and colors.
Bolts of fabric are 30-100 yards in length. When almost all of the fabric from a bolt has been sold, the piece that is left is often not enough to make a garment, and is suitable only for small projects. The remaining piece is then pulled off, folded, repriced, and placed into a bin marked “remnants.” Many times I have purchased these beautiful remnants to make items such as throw pillows or placemats.
The Bible uses the word remnants in referring to what is left of GOD’s believers in end-times, but I wonder if the body of CHRIST (the Christian church) comprehends the seriousness of being the remnant. What is meant by the term remnant? There are multiple meanings, some of which are: to remain, to leave, a small quantity of something left from a larger piece, a surviving trace, or a few people who remain faithful to GOD after most have turned away.
How do we become a remnant? The answer is to invite JESUS into your life, have a personal relationship with Him, and choose to follow His words – not by following the words of man.
What might it cost to be a remnant? The Apostle Luke records JESUS’ answer in chapter 14:26-28. (TLV) “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his own father, mother, wife, children, brothers and sisters – and yes, even his own life – he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and follow Me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, wanting to build a tower, doesn’t first sit down and figure out the cost to see if he has enough to finish it?”
No, Jesus was not suggesting that we hate everyone! Verse 33 goes on to explain that if anyone or anything comes between us and our faithful relationship with Him, they are not worthy to be called His followers. JESUS said that He came to do the will of His father, and that He did what he saw the Father doing. Because JESUS is our example, He has asked us to do that also, and thereby be called His disciples. We must choose whether we are willing to count the cost, take up our cross daily (by saying “no” to the temptations of sin), do the will of the Lord, and follow Him. This may be difficult, sometimes emotionally painful, and the cost may be that we are left feeling misunderstood and rejected by others.
The remnant people are characterized by their obedience to GOD’s instructions. They have counted the cost, and accepted the love of GOD through the sacrifice of his son, JESUS. These few people are those who remain steadfast, unshakable in their faith.
In 1923, Arthur J. Hodge wrote this lyric for his hymn “Have You Counted the Cost?”
“There’s a line that is drawn by rejecting our Lord,
Where the call of His Spirit is lost,
And you hurry along with the pleasure-made throng –
Have you counted, have you counted the cost?
You may barter your hope of eternity’s morn,
For a moment of joy at the most,
For the glitter of sin, and the things it will win,
Have you counted, have you counted the cost?”