|Volume 20 Number 5 May 2018||
Counting the Cost
In Luke 14, we see a picture of a great multitude following Jesus (vs. 25). The crowds were gathering to hear Him, and they continued to follow Him as He spoke. One could imagine the excitement they felt. However, they apparently were not fully considering what following Jesus meant. Hence, Jesus said to them, “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26-27). Jesus was informing these people that there is a price to be His disciple. To truly be a disciple of Jesus requires a commitment on our part; we may even lose family members over deciding to follow Jesus. He, then, used two parables to help solidify His teaching on counting the cost of discipleship.
For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:28-33)
First, becoming a Christian is illustrated by anyone wanting to build a tower. Building a tower in those days would represent protection, such as protecting a field or a vineyard. The owner would have to stop and count the cost of building such a tower. Jesus said the first thing one must do is sit down and calculate the cost to see if the owner had enough finances to complete it. The question that must be asked is, “How much are you willing to pay?” In answering this question as Christians, we must consider the terms of salvation and how much our souls are worth to us. Jesus said, “For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?” (Luke 9:25). What are you willing to do so you are saved and remain so? The cost for spiritual life with Jesus is the same for all of us, and that is everything.
Second, the illustration used was one of a king going to war. The king’s land was being invaded, and he had to protect his people. The king had two choices: fight, which means going to war, or make a settlement, which means sending a delegation and making terms of peace. The cost would be great, but can he afford to do nothing? So, he would sit down and decide whether he was strong enough if he went to war; on the surface it seems he was not. Jesus was telling us that we will be fighting against the opposition, which is Satan and his forces, and it will seem that we are outnumbered. However, we must count the cost even in the face of such odds, knowing what is at stake, and that is our souls. We must pay the price if we want peace with God. “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).
Finally, Luke 14:33 says, “So likewise,” meaning that Jesus was concluding His thought. Our hope of Heaven was costly for Jesus. “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him” (Romans 5:8-9). My hope for Heaven will be costly for me, too. “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever” (1 John 2:15-17). There is a great reward in paying the cost.
Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee. And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life. (Mark 10:28-30)
Ernest S. Underwood
My wife and I were married 50 years ago on this past March twenty-third . It wasn’t long before I learned something about her that I had not previously known; her mother had taught her how to make delicious biscuits. She told me that secret was using enough shortening. Well, I decided to surprise her one morning and make the biscuits. Now, I reasoned that if a good dob of shortening made ‘em that good that a double dob would make ‘em that much better. Friends, when they came out of the oven, they would have smashed a foot if they had fallen on it. They were more like hockey pucks than biscuits.
What’s my point? Just this, some things do not work unless the directions are closely followed.
God tell us that He has given us “all things that pertain to life and godliness.” He warned that His Word must not be added to or diminished from. It is perfect as it is. When perverted by additions or subtractions, it will not save. The Message: Don’t add to; don’t take away from the Word of God.