Dr. Helen Roseveare stood to address a conference after pulling all the blossoms and leaves off a forsythia branch demonstrating for them, The Cost of Declaring His Glory:
As the stripping and whittling and sandpapering processes are complete, what results from the rough (though once beautiful) branch? An arrow - a polished shaft, fit to carry the arrowhead direct to its target. A perfect balanced tool in the hand of an expert archer to achieve a destined goal. Does the "cost" now seem quite so high? Was it really a pointless waste? God says that he will make of his Branch (Isaiah 11:1) a polished shaft (Isaiah 49:2). And he longs to make you and me more "like unto Jesus," conformable to the image of his Son (Romans 8:29).
Am I willing for the stripping and whittling and sandpapering, through circumstances, companions or committees, to make me into that perfect arrow to achieve his wonderful purposes in and through my life? "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them" (Ephesians 2:10)…
I have looked back and tried "to count the cost," but I find it all swallowed up in privilege. The cost suddenly seems very small and transient in the greatness and permanence of the privilege. Can you, will you, believe it and enter into it?
As the branch to become the arrow had to lose its leaves and flowers, so I perhaps the pleasant home, fixed salary and married joys. (Nothing wrong in leaves and flowers - essential to the life of the branch - but a hindrance, a weight, to the balanced arrow). So also the side branches, roughnesses and knots - my temperament, my sensitivities, my habits the sin that does so easily beset us, of bad temper, of being hurt, of throwing my weight about. And even to the bark, the final individuality of the branch - my personality, my right to be myself - that I may be crucified that Christ may live wholly in me: so will we be able to run the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, who has paid the cost and offers us only the privilege.