Have you ended up spending more than you wanted to? Or, to put it differently, have you ever been misled by the face value, and you end up spending more than the amount you intended to spend, or end up paying more than what you can see on the price tag? In fact if you check your receipt very well, you will find that there are some taxes that have been accounted for.
Hidden costs are unforeseen expenses added on to purchases. They can be minor, such as in the airline example above, or they can be major, such as the various closing costs added on when buying a home. Have you ever been a victim of hidden costs?
Jumping out of the commodity market, life has a lot of hidden costs. Every decision we make has a cost. In fact life itself is an invitation to make decisions on a daily basis. When we wake up , we decide what we will do that day. When hungred, we decided what we would eat, considering the menu. When convicted of the need to jump out of the league of singles, we make a decision on who is going to be your life partner. Life, summarised, is an invitation to make decisions as long as time will last. Our decisions cannot be assumed, unless we are able to comfortably meet the costs that will be served on our table, when all is said and done. There is always more than meets the eye, and we should seek to count it as a cost to meet too.
There is a man called Jonah, who neglected a call to mission, and chose to go and wander in oblivion in the far Country Tarshish.
Here is a snippet of the story:
“Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.” But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.” [NKJV Jonah 1:1-3]
Divine appeal involved sounding a warning to the rebellious inhabitants of Nineveh. This was not an easy call. The Assyrians, whose capital was Nineveh, were very cruel and inhuman folk. It was perilous to go face them with words of warning. Going to evangelise them, was like seeking an exit plan away from life. Jonah found this too much, and settled for a far country, where he would not be held accountable for keeping silent when the world needed to hear the truth. Considering the forebodings and uncertainties that Jonah battled with, Tarshish was a cheaper option.
The cost of a trip to Tarshish appeared to be the only expenditure on logistics, for the Bible records that the prophet paid his fare. Having paid his fare, he must have been resting carefree, worried about the delays of the seamen to set the ship on course. Maybe, he kept checking his watch, worried about the apparent delays of the seamen. He expected comfort all through, till he is woken up to alight at his destination.
Was that the case?
As soon as they set sail, the hidden costs of his decision began playing on his face. A terrible wind threatening to capsize the ship, erupted. When the sailors could not endure any longer, they decided to find out the source of the apparent bad omen. The prophet sleeping at the wrong time was guilty. They were pushed to a tough option of accepting corporate death, of allowing Jonah to face the music.
The solution was that Jonah must be sacrificed for them to live.
Then the men were exceedingly afraid, and said to him, “Why have you done this?” For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them. Then they said to him, “What shall we do to you so that the sea may be calm for us?”—for the sea was growing more tempestuous. And he said to them, “Pick me up and [d]throw me into the sea; then the sea will become calm for you. For I know that this great tempest is because of me.” Nevertheless the men rowed hard to return to land, but they could not, for the sea continued to grow more tempestuous against them. Therefore they cried out to the Lord and said, “We pray, O Lord, please do not let us perish for this man’s life, and do not charge us with innocent blood; for You, O Lord, have done as it pleased You.” So they picked up Jonah and threw him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging. Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice to the Lord and took vows. [Jonah 1:10-16]
Jonah found himself in the belly of a great fish. This was part of the cost of his decision that he didn’t sign up for. Apparent death by drowning came as a bonus to the prophet who was seeking an unwarranted sabbatical from duty. The cost of the Tarshish decision included death by drowning, but which was not intelligibly written. Jonah knew nothing about this. He got overwhelmed when he realised he had chosen a drowner’s path. Hidden costs came up and demanded attention.
Don’t just look at things on the face value. There is always more to life than meets the eye. Make decisions with some mind considering the possible outcomes. There is more which only time will reveal.