The scenario is all too familiar. A young person with no significant or permanent income source is bombarded with almost irresistible offers from the credit card companies. “Buy now, pay later” is simply too tempting to resist, and the spending spree begins. The joyride is wonderful, until the harsh reality of burdensome repayments takes its toll in the months and years to come.
Until maturity brings a sense of fiscal respnsibility and self-discipline, few people count the cost of instant money in their pockets–or of much else. In this age of instant gratification and indulgence, many want much now, with little thought given to the future consequences of their immediate actions.
Such was the caution of our Saivor in His construction and war “cost counting” examples. Neither a major construction project nor a decision to wage a war is ever undertaken without careful planning and consideration (vv. 28-31). Will it begin and then collapse, or do I have what it takes to successfully complete it?
Spiritual Cost-Counting: God’s
What is true about building a tower or waging a war is surely also true of building a spritual life that will endure through eternity. Careful planning and cost-counting are absolutely vital–lest the burdens along the way disillusion us and derail the effort, and all is lost.
It has been said that everything in life comes at a cost. Since the Fall into sin, our spiritual life, our salvation, comes at a humanly unattainable price.
Our accumulated sin-debt is beyond measuring. No one can redeem himself or his brother from sin (Psalm 49:7). Only our loving and merciful God possessed the wherewithal to redeem sinners and restore and rebuild their spiritual lives. Only the Son of God could have “purchased and won me . . . not with gold or silver, but with His holy precious blood and His innocent suffering and death.”
Yes, our God and Savior carefully counted the cost and in love willingly “endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne” (Heb. 12:2). Jesus’ loving commitment and life-sacrifice saw His salvation mission through to completion.
And through Spirit-worked faith in our hearts, all Christ has built and won for us has now become ours!
Spiritual Cost-Counting: Ours
While our sin-debt has been paid in full by Jesus, there remains a cost-counting and price-paying involved in being a disciple of Jesus.
Because of sin still in and around us, there are ongoing and major obstacles to real and lasting discipleship–things that interfere with building lives for Christ and for eternity, things against which the Christian must daily wage all-out war. To truly follow Jesus means bearing our cross, letting no one or nothing come before or interfere with our relationship and responsiblities to our Savior.
Such words humble all of us who have in various times and ways wavered, even failed to count or pay these costs of discipleship. Too often we instead travel the path of least spiritual resistance.
In a society of instant food, information, entertainment, and gratification, things that require commitment and sacrifice are often avoided–including religion.
To be forewarned is to be forearmed. The Christian who imagines true discipleship to be a spiritual cake-walk will be setting himself up for disillusionment, discouragement, doubt, and defeat.
Yet the Lord Who calls us to build our spiritual towers and wage our war also supplies us with the “tools and weapons” to do so. In His Word and in our Savior’s love He equips us with the commitment and strength, the motivation and zeal to build our lives on the rock (Matthew 7:24-25), and to fight the good fight of faith (1 Timothy 6:12). Look to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, for the “endurance” to build and fight . . . and finish!
Yes, it’s serious not to “count the cost” before embarking on a major financial commitment. It can be far more tragic not to spiritually “count the cost” of discipleship. Count the cost and whatever it is, remember–it’s worth it.
–Pastor David Schierenbeck