Count The Cost

But don’t begin until you count the cost… you cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own.
— Jesus, Luke 14:28, 33

I didn’t grow up with an excess of stuff, and then my family moved to the border of Mexico, and we got involved in international missions, and I realized just how non-essential things are.

So when I read this, I can easily dismiss it, thinking that if Jesus asked for my house or my car or my wedding ring, if my stuff is the cost of following Him, I’d probably be able to give it up.

For me, the real cost could be the intangibles that I feel like I “own” — control over our plans, the affection of a certain few people, the good opinion of others, the future I envision. Submitting those things, deciding that I want His will above all else, no matter how difficult, that sounds costly to me. That makes my stomach churn just a little bit.

That’s what I think Jesus is saying. He’s outlining that following Him will at some point cause us to give up something we think is ours for His will or His way or His call. But we sing these collective songs that say things like, “Say the word and I will set my feet upon the sea till I’m dancing in the deep.” We commit our lives to Him with our words and with our voices and around our small group, and it’s all very good stuff. Yet He warns us — this is going to cost us something, and we’ve got to be willing for it to cost us everything.

I know it’s not something we can prepare for, but I do know that the Holy Spirit inside of me is revealing things as I read those verses. I can’t look down the road and know exactly what the cost is going to be, but I know that there are areas today that I feel Him prompting me to be willing to give over to Him. I know instinctively and by the Spirit that there are some people I’d really like not to disappoint. There are some plans I really would like to have control over. Yet I know He’s asking — Would you be willing to give that up to follow me? Would my plan and my call be worth more to you than what you think you own or control?

Maybe it’s similar for you, but maybe it’s something else. Maybe it is your stuff because you have worked so hard for it. Maybe you sense that you hold onto your people too tightly, not willing to let others go for the sake of Jesus. Maybe the cost is your reputation or your comfort. If you don’t know, ask the Spirit to help you be aware.

As I count the cost, I know one thing. Jesus is always going to be better than any other thing. I know it in my bones. I believe it for me, and I believe it for you.


Call to Action:

As the Holy Spirit makes you aware of what you might hold too tightly, decide to tell the Lord that He matters more. Say it aloud, write it in a journal, whatever it takes. Counting the cost is a choice, a decision we can make today.

Read for next week:

Luke 15