Count the Cost
Jesus had an uncanny ability to say exactly the wrong thing. Of course, nothing Jesus said was wrong, but if you were just trying to say things that drew a crowd, Jesus was not your guy. In Luke 14, it sounds almost as if he’s trying to discourage people from following him.
 Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them,  “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.  Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.  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 14:25-33 (ESV)
We want to keep this passage in the context of all of scripture. First, I don’t think you should apply this passage by skipping Mother’s Day this year. God is clear about his desire for us to love our families. Yet, he clearly desires to come first. Even our families can be stumbling blocks for following Jesus. So Jesus says, “Count the cost.”
We also want to keep in mind here the wonderful free grace of Jesus. Salvation comes though faith alone in Christ. Yet Jesus reminds us that his call to salvation is a call to a transformed life. JC Ryle says it like this:
“It costs something to be a true Christian. Let that never be forgotten. To be a mere nominal Christian, and go to church, is cheap and easy work. But to hear Christ’s voice, and follow Christ, and believe in Christ, and confess Christ, requires much self-denial. It will cost us our sins, and our self-righteousness, and our ease, and our worldliness. All—all must be given up. We must fight an enemy who comes against us with twenty thousand followers. We must build a tower in troublous times. Our Lord Jesus Christ would have us thoroughly understand this. He bids us “count the cost.”
Now, why did our Lord use this language? Did He wish to discourage men from becoming His disciples? Did He mean to make the gate of life appear more narrow than it is? It is not difficult to find an answer to these questions. Our Lord spoke as He did to prevent men following Him lightly and inconsiderately, from mere animal feeling or temporary excitement, who in time of temptation would fall away. He knew that nothing does so much harm to the cause of true religion as backsliding, and that nothing causes so much backsliding as enlisting disciples without letting them know what they take in hand. He had no desire to swell the number of His followers by admitting soldiers who would fail in the hour of need. For this reason He raises a warning voice. He bids all who think of taking service with Him count the cost before they begin.”
In Philippians, Paul looks at everything in his life other than the gift of Christ and calls it “rubbish.” In other words, it costs our garbage to know Christ. Remember as you fight to follow Christ that you must give up much, but what what you give up is worth nothing compared to what you gain. Is it worth it?
Daily Reading: Today’s bible reading is Luke 14.