“For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?” (Luke 14: 28)
Why do we so often assume that faith is always an instantaneous inspiration that requires an immediate decision or action? This verse would suggest that Jesus expected anyone who followed Him to have taken time to sit down and consider the real implications of such a decision. After all, being willing to forsake family (v. 26) and fortune (v. 33), if need be, is no small sacrifice, humanly speaking. Perhaps this is why one of my husband’s early mentors, an old Southern Baptist evangelist greatly used of God, once said to him, “Sonny Boy, you’re never as dedicated as you think you are.”
In this verse, and the following three, Jesus pictures the Christian life as one of building and battling. And in both cases, He says, “Don’t start it without “reading the fine print.” Satan tries to hide what serving him will cost you…your soul; but Jesus asks us to look life and death, hardship and cross-bearing in the face, before we sing, “I have decided to follow Jesus.”
This is no excuse for calculated cowardice. If we wait till there is no risk we’ll never serve God. I’ve heard my husband say, “Faith is just beyond our reach.” It will always require God to put us over the finish line. What I’m trumpeting here are those souls who start to build and begin to battle, not in a lather of bravado, but with fear and trepidation…and determination. I read about of young soldier who was laughed at for showing visible signs of fear before battle. “What’s the matter; you afraid?” someone scoffed.” “Yes, I am afraid,” he replied, “And if you were half as afraid as I am, you’d go home.”
And there it is; that’s why Jesus says to count the cost. God expects us to finish building our Christian life and fight the good fight of faith till we stand before Him. As my son likes to say, “I’m in this for the long haul.” We may differ on how long the haul is going to be, but we all can agree that we need to stay faithful to the end. Not in order to be saved, but in order to show a mocking world that we are (v. 29). And we’re much more likely to finish strong if we’ve honestly and humbly, first counted the cost.
If God asks you to walk a rough road, He'll give you a good pair of shoes.