When I was a single mom a few years ago, I would often tag a purchase by the value of how much it would cost me, meaning; Is this item truly worth an equivalent of my 8 hours at work. “HA! NO!” Having this mindset hugely affected any impulse buying. So it is in our Christian walk. Our choice to have, to do, to go, to see, to taste does (DOES) cost us. Really!
Jesus talks about being His disciple in Luke (14:25-35) He clearly states, “But don’t begin until you count the cost.” (v28) He gives examples of the need for strong allegiance and love for Him, being so great by comparison that our love for Him is greater than our love for others, and even for our own lives. He tells tiny stories about beginning a building project without first sitting down and calculating out the cost, why get halfway in and not be able to finish. And what about leading an army into battle knowing the opposition is greater, a change of course may be needed. Counting the cost.
His whole premise in these statements… know the cost! Knowing the cost, we recognize and agree there are guidelines. Sometimes we may need to set extreme guidelines in advance to help us in our God decision-making process. I am reminded of Abram, (Genesis 14) after conquering the kings who took his nephew Lot and a whole boatload of others, the King of Sodom came and told him he could keep all the loot. Abram says, “I have raised my hand to the LORD God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth and have taken an oath that I will accept nothing belonging to you…” He didn’t want the king to brag later that he made Abram great. The narrative goes on, “After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram, “Don’t be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.” (15:1) Yes, Abram could have profited HUGELY from what the King of Sodom was offering, but the cost would have been greater if he HAD taken it. God says I will reward – I AM the reward. (Predetermined guidelines).
I speak from experience, after a season of very poor decision making, I totally mucked out the stalls of my life with a mindset of these following questions: Does what I am reading, what I am watching as a disciple of Jesus hurt my relationship with Him. Does having this item tell Jesus I love ‘me’ more than Him? Does going to this place or event compromise my promise to follow Him? Have I truly thought this out, how much this will cost me, is it worth my discipleship? Have I calculated and found I need a change of course?
I appreciate “Don’t look for shortcuts to God. The market is flooded with surefire, easygoing formulas for a successful life that can be practiced in your spare time. Don’t fall for that stuff, even though crowds of people do. The way to life—to God!—is vigorous and requires total attention.” (The Message, Matthew 7:13-14)
May we pay attention and do a lil mucking out and hear Jesus’ words as we stand on the threshold of decision-making “Count the cost.” How much will it cost me?
In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love & good deeds.” – Hebrews 10:24)