To start with the conclusion, these words are revealing and important… “So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.”
Counting the cost… what does this mean?
For the high school football player, it means a shortened summer break and then lots of grinding exhausting practices to get ready for game season. For the salesman it means lots of time on the road away from home. For the fireman it means walking into something he might not walk out of. For the teacher it means lots of investing and hard work with hopes for future returns. For the builder it means sufficiently evaluating and costing the project that lies ahead. For the one who would follow Jesus Christ it means…?
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)
Does our lack of peace and contentment in following Jesus in his death and resurrection betray a pseudo-Christianity, a man-centered religion where God is not our peace and where, at best, our idea of God is contentment with Him as our back-pocket savior or our co-pilot?
What does my worry over life circumstances reveal to me about my view of God? Who is ruling and reigning in our daily ‘living’? Is Jesus our ‘go-to guy’ when circumstances seem beyond our control or is He our life… everything, our All in all?
“The Christian landscape is strewn with the wreckage of derelict half-built towers. The ruins of those who began to build and were unable to finish. For thousands of people still ignore Christ’s warning and undertake to follow Him without first pausing to reflect on the cost of doing so. The result is the great scandal of Christendom today, so called nominal Christianity. In countries to which Christian civilization has spread, large numbers of people have covered themselves with a decent but thin veneer of Christianity. They have allowed themselves to become somewhat involved, enough to be respectable. Their religion is a great soft cushion. It protects them from the hard unpleasantness of life while changing its place and shape to suit their convenience. No wonder the cynics speak of hypocrites in the church and dismiss religion as escapism.”John Stott – Basic Christianity, p 108
But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
(Philippians 3:7-11 ESV)
(Galatians 2:20 ESV)