Figuring the Cost
I enjoy the HGTV renovation shows, especially the ones that are a sequel to the House Hunters series. In House Hunters, you watch people view houses that they are considering buying, and at the end they reveal which one they picked. They work with a local realtor with a specific budget in mind, and it is always exciting when they negotiate a price for less than the asking price.
In the renovation shows, they make a list of improvements and repairs, set a budget, hire a contractor, do some of the demo themselves, and then you get to see the newly renovated house. However, it never, ever, ever comes in on budget. Never. They always underestimate both the cost of materials and the time required to complete the project, and thus go way over their budget in the end just to get the job finished. Not to mention that there is always a mold or water damage situation that they didn’t spot when they were buying the house, so now they are stuck. So even if they were under budget when they purchased the house, the renovations put them way out of budget.
If you’ve ever remodeled even a closet in your house, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
In the fourteenth chapter of Luke, Jesus taught his followers about estimating the cost of being a disciple. It is not cheap. Most will underestimate the true expense. Many will walk away.
Luke 14 (The Message)
25-27 One day when large groups of people were walking along with him, Jesus turned and told them, “Anyone who comes to me but refuses to let go of father, mother, spouse, children, brothers, sisters—yes, even one’s own self!—can’t be my disciple. Anyone who won’t shoulder his own cross and follow behind me can’t be my disciple.
This may be the harshest of Jesus’ teachings. He stated that you may have to walk away from your family’s unbelief in order to be a disciple. You may need to separate yourself from people’s behavior and actions. You may need to even deny yourself, your habits, or your lifestyle to follow Jesus.
You will need to pick up your own cross.
28-30 “Is there anyone here who, planning to build a new house, doesn’t first sit down and figure the cost so you’ll know if you can complete it? If you only get the foundation laid and then run out of money, you’re going to look pretty foolish. Everyone passing by will poke fun at you: ‘He started something he couldn’t finish.’
31-32 “Or can you imagine a king going into battle against another king without first deciding whether it is possible with his ten thousand troops to face the twenty thousand troops of the other? And if he decides he can’t, won’t he send an emissary and work out a truce?
Estimating the cost of following Jesus is a serious business. Jesus wants you to go into it with your eyes wide open. If you are still in a relationship with someone who continually pulls you away from God’s will and toward sin, get out your calculator and do the math again.
33 “Simply put, if you’re not willing to take what is dearest to you, whether plans or people, and kiss it good-bye, you can’t be my disciple.
Plans, people, behaviors, and habits that don’t lead you to Jesus will need to be set aside for the disciple-life. Is God telling you to kiss something good-bye so that you can follow his son?