“But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you. They would say, ‘There’s the person who started that building and couldn’t afford to finish it!’Luke 14:28-30
What a perfect foil for what Jesus has just said. “If you want to be My disciple, you must hate everyone and everything else by comparison—even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be My disciple.” EVEN your own life? Especially your own life. It is in the emphatic place in the sentence. Until you get the ‘death to self’ thing sorted out you will be prey to everything else. Even the pull of family ties. No, don’t go to the mission field. Don’t take the grandchildren to a dangerous place like that. Think of us. NO, the first thought must be Jesus. Him above ALL else, then everything else fits around that. Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you. “If you don’t carry your own cross and follow Him, you can’t be His disciple.” You have no right to talk to anyone else about discipleship. There must be surrender first to His will, and then the rest flows.
The problem comes when we don’t have a realistic view of what we are getting into. We met people along the way who were following along the same trail but when the going got tough, (and it will – that’s life), they faltered. It is like they were looking at the way ahead through “rose-tinted glasses”. That happens when they are not been told the reality. Many start following Christ having been told, “Come to Jesus and all your troubles will be gone. Jesus will give you peace and life will be like heaven.” That’s right. It will be – IN HEAVEN. In the meantime, Jesus said, “In this world you will have tribulation”. No, following Christ is not always easy. In fact, following Christ invites enemy forces to attack. Have you ever noticed each time you make a decision to press in closer or head for higher ground in Him, you face difficulties? I wonder why? Don’t you know you are in a battle? We don’t like the persecution message, the tribulation message. But Jesus told you, “Unless you take up your cross and carry it yourself, you can’t be My disciple”. There is no easy road. Get used to it.
I love a comment I heard from the believers in the persecuted church in China and their advice to the believers in the West. “You pray for us for our freedom from persecution, but we pray for you because you don’t know persecution. Until you know persecution and carry your cross, you don’t know Christ.” Wow, what a statement!
Jesus illustration of the building process is perfect. God is in the process of building a building. Not a building built with bricks and mortar but a building of “living stones”. Us knit together in His body, worldwide. But we need to be aware of the cost. It might mean physical death for some of us. But the grave is not the end. The worst they can do to us is the best they can do for us. Think about that. Paul said He didn’t know which to choose – depart and be with Christ or stay on? It sounds so spiritual and sanitized doesn’t it? Almost poetic! What he means is death! Not so poetic. There are many buildings in Jakarta that have been built under a grandiose scheme which promised much, I am sure. But the buildings stand derelict because the developer ran out of money. So now all of that money spent to get the multi-level building erected is wasted, because the concrete and steel have been exposed to the elements and are no longer safe to continue building. The effort thus far has been wasted. The edifice has to be torn down and a new building built.
Make sure you count the cost before you begin. Make sure you know what the hidden costs are first. Have a sane, realistic understanding of what you are getting into when you follow Christ. It is not all sugar and spice and all things nice. It’s blood, sweat and tears. But let me assure you, every drop of sweat, every drop of blood and every teardrop is worth it. It is the best life I know. I wouldn’t trade it for all the riches in the world. You do know that the riches in the world are all going to be burned up and turn to ash and dust, don’t you? Sow into heavenly things. Sow into the Kingdom of God and you will never be disappointed.
Count the cost and keep going. Keep building and keep paying the price. Don’t falter and you will reap a reward in heaven. Your heavenly bank account will be full to overflowing.Anon
Most Christians are being crucified on a cross between two thieves: Yesterday’s regret and tomorrow’s worries.Warren Wiersbe
Don’t ask God to get you out of your problem. Ask God to use your problem to get the junk out of you!Rick Warren
There are no padded crosses.Joyce Meyer
You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.Scott R Jones
If You Don’t Start, It’s Certain You’ll Never Finish.Robb Thompson