“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?” (Luke 14:28, ESV)
The cost is not always calculated in dollars and cents. The cost can be things more valuable than money. The cost is often our time, our energy, and our relationships.
When you count the cost, see the whole picture. Recognize what will be gained. But also recognize what will be lost. We often make decisions based upon what is to be gained, but we fail to consider what will be lost. If we had a better picture of what would be lost, would we make a different decision?
The consumer culture takes advantage of us when we fail to count the cost. We are wooed by the shiny new phone or car. But the cost is hidden in “low” monthly payments. The cost is the debt that we incur. Yet, we are won over by what will be gained, only to regret later what is lost.
Another example might be a new job that pays better. But the new job requires a longer commute or a move to a new city with a higher cost of living. We may bring in more money, but we pay for the extra income in other ways. The cost is not always worth it. When you have a great opportunity, always consider the cost of that opportunity.
The opposite the cost of an opportunity is the cost of not embracing an opportunity. Jesus tells us to count the cost in the context of following him and bearing our cross. Jesus is clear that there is a cost to following him. But what is the cost of not following Jesus?
Many may follow Jesus when it is convenient and does not cost much. But when it is no longer convenient, the masses go a different way. We live in a culture where the cost of following Jesus is increasing. It is becoming less convenient to be his follower. And we are seeing many people walk away as followers of Jesus.
But what has been the cost of not following Jesus? Individually? Corporately as a nation? Many of the problems we face today are a result of following our own agenda rather than God’s will.
To conclude, I want you to reflect upon what has been your cost for following Jesus. At the same time, reflect upon what you have gained as a result. I am sure that if you are following Jesus, what you have gained has far outweighed anything that has been lost. If you cannot identify a cost in your life, consider if it is Jesus that you follow.