Counting The Cost
“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.”
What’s the cost of following Jesus?
In a word – everything! Matt 16:24 “Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me”
See also Luke 14:25-27
Is Jesus Worth it?
Have you ever had your thoughts arrested by one or two sentences in a whole sermon? That happened to me yesterday, when one of the preaching team at our church, Albert Hanvey, was preaching from the book of Revelation. As Albert was describing Jesus, the Lamb of God, slain for us, now seated on the throne in heaven, something he said caught my attention and stayed with me all day – I hope I quote it correctly:
“Do you know what the number one hit song is in heaven? It’s “Worthy, is the Lamb!”
And do you know what Satan’s number one hit song is? It’s “Unworthy!”
Well, you could have heard a pin drop, as Albert went on to say that while the enemy of your soul constantly whispers in your ear that Jesus isn’t worthy of your time, and devotion – isn’t worthy of your whole heart, all Heaven gathers around the throne of Jesus declaring that He is worthy!
I woke up in the middle of the night thinking about that. I woke up again this morning thinking about it.
Do I live a life that declares Jesus’ worth?
Luke 14:28,29 warns us to be sure to count the cost before deciding to follow Jesus. When Jesus says ‘follow me’, He isn’t asking for half-hearted disciples. Jesus Himself demonstrated wholehearted love and commitment; He literally laid down His life for you and for me. Jesus loves, and gives Himself wholeheartedly. He wants the same from you and I; He wants our wholehearted devotion.
I so often declare my willingness, but then quickly become distracted by ‘stuff’.
Do you know that we can even be distracted by things we are actually doing FOR God?
I sometimes get caught up with technical issues to do with my blog. I wasn’t brought up in the “cyber era” so everything I do pertaining to my website is self taught – not always a good thing. With one accidental sideswipe of a pinkie finger I can wipe out hours of work and then spend a few more frustrated hours trying to recover it.
Distractions can come in various forms, and no matter who we are, or how devoted our hearts, if we’re honest, we can be sucked in and before we know it, God is sidelined, or even out of the picture completely, for half a day, a whole day, two days.
King David was absolutely passionate about the building of the temple as a place of worship and devotion for the Lord.
He was also a man acquainted with the powerful draw of distraction. In the end it was his son, Solomon who completed the work. David, as he committed the building of the temple to Solomon, said these words:
“And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will cast you off forever.” 1 Chronicles 28:9 ESV
In Matthew 22:37-38 Jesus, quoting Deuteronomy 6:5 said “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.”
It’s a ‘Heart Thing’!
In Matt 16 Jesus asked Peter the question “who do you say that I am?” It’s a simple but profoundly important question. Peter’s answer is “you’re the Messiah, the son of the living God”.
Peter got it. The penny had dropped, who it was that he’d been walking with these past couple of years – Jesus the Messiah, worthy of Peter’s all.
Yes, we all know that Peter blew it sometimes – the most ‘famous’ occasion is when he denied knowing Jesus after the crucifixion. But Jesus restored Peter, and Peter went on to serve Jesus with his whole heart for the rest of his life, eventually dying for his faith. Why? Because he knew that Jesus is worth it.
Jesus asks the same of each one of us. Who do you (insert your name) say that I am? If our answer is the same as Peter’s, what are we going to do with this answer?
The second half of that verse in Luke 14:29 that we looked at in the beginning says of those who have not counted the cost
“Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money.”
This reminds me of the wheat and the tares that Jesus spoke of in Matthew 13.
Churches are filled with two types of Christian; those who are wholeheartedly devoted to knowing Him more, to hearing His invitation to come up higher; who have counted the cost and considered Jesus worthy of everything.
And those who have never really counted the cost and have decided, deep down, that Jesus is not really worth the cost.
And sadly, they have never truly got past the foundation stage in their relationship with Him.
Its not about ‘doing more’ for Jesus. Going to more church meetings, and making our lives even busier than they already are. It’s the opposite- it’s letting some things go, that distract our attention from Him and that make so much ‘noise’ that we can’t even hear Him anymore.
Its about a heart commitment – to use a good old ‘Christianese’ phrase – seeking Him. Because He promises that those who seek Him with all their hearts will find Him!
Let’s be among those who have counted the cost and decide that The One who gave His all for me is more than worth my all.
Deuteronomy 10:12,14-17,21 “…what does the Lord your God require of you? He requires only that you fear the Lord your God, and live in a way that pleases him, and love him and serve him with all your heart and soul. Look, the highest heavens and the earth and everything in it all belong to the Lord your God. Yet the Lord chose your ancestors as the objects of his love. And he chose you, their descendants, above all other nations, as is evident today. Therefore, change your hearts and stop being stubborn. “For the Lord your God is the God of gods and Lord of lords. He is the great God, the mighty and awesome God, who shows no partiality and cannot be bribed. He alone is your God, the only one who is worthy of your praise, the one who has done these mighty miracles that you have seen with your own eyes”
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