Day #58: Counting the Cost

For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’

Or 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? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace.

So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.

Luke 14:28-33, ESV


What is Jesus trying to tell us with all of this talk of building towers and going to war? And, why should we even care about such things? After all, we are not planning on building a tower or going to war, are we? Well, in a way we are, for when you are deciding whether or not to become a true disciple of Christ, you really do have to count the costs.


So, let's break these thoughts down a bit more. What does a Christian life have in common with building a tower? One similarity that comes to mind is that both are meant to be very prominent. In other words, they are designed to be seen. So, if you are building a tower and stop halfway, people are going to notice. In a similar fashion, anyone thinking of becoming a Christian, but who stops part way is going to open himself up to ridicule.


But what about the comparison of kings going to war? I thought that Christians were not supposed to be inclined towards conflict and conquests. While this is true enough, whether we like it or not, becoming a Christian is going put you at enmity with a number of people. If we are serious about following Christ and wearing the name "Christian", this is going to open us up to hostile "fire" from those on the other side, just as wearing the opposing uniform would during a time of war.


So, whether we are talking about the comparison to towers or warfare, we are going to have to calculate if we are willing to pay the price - thus the importance of counting the costs. Jesus said that in effect it is a renouncing of all that we have, so we really do have to decide in advance if we can afford to pay the price of being a disciple of Christ.


Have you?


Today's reading is from Luke 14. It will help you to decide if you can afford the price of serving Jesus.