Costly Truth

Costly TruthA little bit of the discussion stemming from Friday’s post, Beware The Shadows, has led me to consider anew how Truth, especially as it applies to God’s vision for his people, is costly. Christianity is risky. Discipleship is costly. Being a follower of Jesus is daring and dangerous. And a good many of us don’t have the stomach for it. Seeking that truth and living it out always comes with a price.

I’m reminded of another Lynn Anderson line in his book Freshness for the Far Journey: “Each of us is as free as all truth-seekers have been from Jeremiah to Sagdluk, provided we, like they, value truth highly enough to maintain the payments.”

Jesus said, “If anyone chooses to do God’s will…” (John 7:17) It’s always a choice. And sometimes it can be a very painful choice. Jesus also said, “How can you believe if you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God?” (John 5:44) Making that unpopular choice every single day is essential to Christian ministry. It’s paramount to our faith to tread that less-traveled road.

More from Anderson: “Those who most freely pursue God’s truth do so in spite of the fact that the environment does not encourage them. To be able to stand before His smiling countenance means far more to them than their security or their forum or the affirmation of their fellows.”

To apply this thought more directly to preachers and teachers and elders in God’s Church, I’ll pull an illustration from another portion of this same book: “Part of the reason Mozart ended up in a pauper’s grave was, according to legend, because he said, ‘I will not write what they want to buy. I will write what I hear.’ Such was Mozart’s artistic integrity. Question: Can any preacher of the Word do less? Dare we neglect ‘what we hear’ to live and preach only what ‘they will buy’?


Some of the discussion from another recent post made me dig this up again. Enjoy.

Cowboys Scanner



1 Comment

  1. DavidW

    I’d never heard of Sagdluk – I thought he was one of those kings who reigned for 2 weeks…

    Here’s a portion of Lynn Anderson’s article “A Heart In Search of Integrity” from WineSkins (

    Merle Crowell tells a story about a Greenland Eskimo who joined an Arctic expedition. For his faithful guide service he was rewarded with a visit to New York City. Dazzled by the wonders, he couldn’t wait to tell the folks back home in Greenland. He described “stacks of igloos that reached the clouds” and “crowded igloos moving along the trail,” and “lamps that burned without seal oil.”

    But the village people did not share his excitement. Instead, they listened with fish-eyed stares, tagged him “Sagdluk” (that is “The Liar”), and shunned him. By the time of his death, his original name had long been forgotten, and he carried the name “Liar” to his grave.

    Later, Knud Rasmussen made his trip to the frozen North, guided by another Greenland Eskimo named Mitek. Mitek, too, was rewarded with a trip to New York. Although he too was dazzled by the city, Mitek, remembering Sagdluk’s fate, covered his backside by cooking up stories that his villagers could swallow. He and Rasmussen had only “paddled a big kayak on a wide river called Hudson, among plentiful flocks of geese and large herds of seals.”

    Thus, Mitek, who was the real liar, gained a place of extraordinary respect among his home villagers. The man who had told the real truth was called “Liar” and died in ignominy.

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