How Much Will it Cost?
For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it – lest, after he has laid the 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”? – Luke 14:28-30
So, my little girl and I were at her favorite restaurant last week. When it came time to pay, the bill rang up to $13.00. I gave the cashier $20.00. She took my twenty, got ten, and three ones out of the register, and handed it to me. I immediately explained how she should have only given me seven. A little embarrassed, she gave me the correct change, and we went on with our evening.
Yesterday, in math class, we were discussing how to make change mentally. I told them this story as a means to interest them in the still-ever-so-torturous subject of mathematics. I asked them if they honestly thought they would catch the mistake? Nobody really cared, until the new kid piped up, “I would have caught it, but there’s no way I would have told them, why did you”? How quickly this became a moral lesson. I said, “Well, in addition to being a teacher, I am also a preacher. I really believe that I will stand before God one day. I would hate to have to answer for a measly six dollars.” He actually respected my answer, and we moved on.
This actually got me to thinking about what it cost to actually be a Christian. In a day and age where a man-made prayer called “the sinner’s prayer” supposedly is your one-way ticket to Heaven, I’d like to remind you of the words of Jesus. In Luke 14, Jesus is talking about following Him . . . really following Him. He is basically saying, “If you are going to follow me, call yourself a Christian, and represent Me, don’t think that you can just live any way that you want . . . think about the cost, and think about whether or not you are willing to pay the price.”
I realize that the overwhelming majority of people who read my WMD’s are Christians. If you are a Christian, what has it cost you to follow Him? If you are not a Christian, what do you think it would cost? Twenty years ago, it cost me my immediate circle of friends, my dream of being a rock guitar god, my girlfriend, and my video games (since I had to make time to actually read the book I claimed to believe). That seems like nothing now, but at the time, let me tell you, it was a big deal. I might have done a little whining and complaining in my prayer time with God. I also found myself having to actually tell the truth, really work at work, and apologize to people when I was wrong . . . regardless of whether I thought they deserved it or not. I didn’t have to like it, I just had to do it.
Later on in the school day, the same kid who asked me why I returned the money was in the computer lab. In the computer lab, the students have to work for a whopping 30 minutes on English or math. Within a few minutes, he said, “I don’t want to do this.” I said, “you don’t have to want to do it, you just have to actually do it.” He sized me up for a moment, and fortunately made the right decision.
I only tell you that because I thought it was a pretty good example of what it looks like to count the cost. If you call yourself a Christian, you don’t get to treat people, and I mean anyone, like garbage. You don’t get to look down your nose on anyone. You don’t get to be lazy at work. You don’t get to be lazy with your schoolwork. You don’t get to cut corners. You don’t get to cheat. You don’t get to be dishonest. You don’t get to rip people off. You don’t get to abuse drugs. You don’t get to sleep around outside of marriage. In fact, if you do what you know you shouldn’t, you have sinned. If you don’t do what you know you should, you have sinned. You must confess your sin, ask for His forgiveness and His help, and try again. It really is that simple. Yet, it really is that difficult.
If you choose to step off the wide road that leads to destruction, and step on the road that leads to eternal life, there will be some self-denial; in fact, there will be a lot of it. There will be a lot of going against what you feel, and acting upon sheer will. It will not be fun or easy at first. In fact, everything that is within you will beg, plead, and try to make sure you never leave your comfort zone.
Salvation through our Lord, Jesus Christ is absolutely free. However, if you think it is cheap and requires no effort or discipline whatsoever, you are sadly mistaken.
“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by It.” – Hebrews 12:11