14:25-33, Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, 26“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.28For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? 29Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’31Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 33So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.
Jesus is gathering a strong following. I believe he knew that many were following him for the wrong reasons. They wanted their stomachs full, they wanted to be healed and they enjoyed his teaching from a purely intellectual point of view. However, many did not understand that part of the way of Christ is one of suffering and hardship. Now Jesus wasn’t stating here that if you didn’t count the cost first you couldn’t follow him. He was stating that a wise person would do that. Salvation is always by faith alone, but it’s wise to count the cost before committing to something. I was listening to a dialogue between Bill Hybels and Dallas Willard and the topic of the lions came up. When a person in the first century was presented the claims of Christ, did they also have to know about the lions? You know, those animals that ate Christians in the Colosseum in Rome! Or did you let them find out about it afterwards? Dallas stated that they already knew about the lions. Christians were counting the cost and dying for their faith. Others contemplating Christianity knew that was a part of the deal. Jesus was telling the crowds it was time to count the cost. Many left him over that little talk.
It’s too late for many of us. We are already in. We have trusted Christ alone for our salvation. So we didn’t count the cost before joining God’s family. However, I need to count the cost every morning when I awake. I need to remember there are responsibilities that come along with my position in Christ. It’s not always easy and I need to realize that and plan my days accordingly. John Maxwell was quoted over the weekend as saying the closer we walk with God, the more he requires of us and the more friends we tend to lose because of the path he has us on. That very well could be true. Some reading this have lost relationships with family or close friends because of your faith. Others have been passed over for promotions and the resulting better life-style that brings because of your faith. We are counting the cost. There are brothers and sisters that are suffering greatly around the world today for their faith. That makes me feel less than adequate knowing my cost for following Christ is minuscule compared to them.
Father God thank you for saving me. Thank you for giving me eternal life. I pray that every morning I would count the cost of following you and that I would not shy away from paying that price. Help me to be true to you and follow strong after your Son Jesus. I pray for my brothers and sisters around the world today who are suffering beyond comprehension. Please be their portion. I pray these things in Jesus Name Amen.
From the archives. Originally published on 66 Books in a Year on October 27, 2009.