Luke 14:25-33 – “Now great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them, 26 “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. 27 And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. 28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it — 29 lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace. 33 So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.” NKJV
There is a “cost” in following Jesus. There is a “cost” in virtually everything we do in life and we must be prepared to “pay the price” for our choices and “face the consequences” of our decisions and actions. When Jesus presented this scenario of “counting the cost” of the man building the tower He was specifically addressing DISCIPLESHIP but we could apply that truth to every aspect of life. It should, without question, be a clear warning and admonition for us to avoid “running” before we know where we are running or why and to never go off ‘half-cocked’ but to make a reasoned decision in our actions.
I had a person tell me once that God commanded him to “hate” his family in order to be a good Christian and Disciple. He said, “That is my cross.” He used the words of our Lord in this passage to justify his belief and estrangement from family. The word “hate” here does not mean hate in the sense we normally use it but hate in the sense of “love, less”. The argument that the Bible teaches Socialism should be quickly dispelled in this passage as our Lord makes it incredibly clear here and elsewhere that He offers no “welfare program” or “easy believism”. The idea or truth of “counting the cost” means recognizing and agreeing to the terms and conditions. Following Christ may cost us much and in some cases, everything in the natural but the prize is worth the cost.
Anyone seeking to follow Jesus for what they can get materially, socially, or politically will not stick around long because they soon find that it is not all “what’s in it for me?” In verse 33 Jesus makes an incredibly arresting declaration saying, “whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.” This can easily be understood as more than physically letting it go but emotionally releasing it. God does not ask that you commit to a “vow of poverty” in order to follow Him and that you can never possess any of this world’s good but that they cannot possess you. We cannot serve God and mammon and if you recall the dilemma of the rich young ruler who turned back because “he had many possessions” you get the picture. It is one thing to possess something and quite another for it to possess you.
The conflict can be illustrated as I heard another describe. Suppose you received word that you had been given a lavish property in Hawaii. There was the provision of airfare, ground transportation, and all expenses were to be paid out of the trust and it would cost you nothing out of pocket. You have options as to how to address this gift. You could puff out your chest and brag about what you owned. You could begin to daydream about the property and even make plans about how you will enjoy and use it someday. BUT, until you board the plane and leave where you are you will NEVER actually possess it. You cannot live where you are and there at the same time. You have to take affirmative and definitive action. That is the way some approach Christianity and Discipleship. They love the idea of eternal life, avoiding hell, and having Jesus at their beck and call, but they are not willing to leave the life they now live. Their desires, lifestyles and sinful habits are too precious to them. Oh, they often have a token change and even join the church and attend with some regularity but want to retain ownership of everything else. Jesus said, “NO!”
Salvation is not and cannot be earned only received. It is the Gift of God and not something we earn, purchase or deserve. It does not matter how philanthropic we may be, or how many good deeds we do it is BY GRACE through FAITH and the GIFT OF GOD in Christ Jesus. If we are going to be Disciples of Christ we must first, “count the cost” and determine that no cost is too great to follow Him.
God bless you as you go through this beautiful day!