Day 155: June 4, 2013

Today's Reading(s)

Luke 14:25-35 Read Online

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Today's Reflection

Key Verse(s)

For which of you, wanting to build a tower, doesn’t first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it?

—Luke 14:28

Calculating the Cost
by Amy Keys, Member of Brentwood Baptist, The Church at Station Hill

Eight years ago, my husband and I planned to build a home for our growing family. We’d worked hard to save up a down payment, and we enjoyed dreaming about the big kitchen, numerous bedrooms, and enormous backyard our money would buy.

However, as we looked at floor plans and calculated the actual cost per square foot, the size of the kitchen shrunk, the number of bedrooms decreased, the dining room disappeared. When all was said and done, the finished house ended up much smaller and simpler than our dream home.

Unfortunately, most of us spend much more time calculating the cost of our homes than the cost of following Jesus. We declare, “Yes, we do want Jesus!” We want Him to clean up our messy lives, forgive our sins, and give us peace. However, few of us consider the cost of discipleship when we agree to follow Him.

Converts in other countries where Christians are unabashedly persecuted do sit down and calculate the cost much more than we do. They realize that accepting Christ means their families may turn their backs on them. They may lose their jobs or get sent to prison. Some of them might even die.

They take their conversion very seriously, considering the great cost and choosing Christ anyway.

Those of us who didn’t take the time to seriously consider the cost before becoming a disciple might be tempted to balk at Christ’s words in Luke 14. It simply states that if we don’t hate our own families and even our own lives, we can’t be disciples of Jesus.

What? Hate? That’s a pretty strong word.

In our culture, it’s the antithesis of love. Didn’t Jesus command us to love one another? Doesn’t His Word tell us, “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar”? How is it that the God who commands His followers to “Love your neighbor as yourself” is now telling them to hate their own families?

Jesus’ listeners were much like people all over the world today who choose Christ at great personal expense. Jesus knew they would have to make tough choices—like follow Jesus or remain in good standing with the family, like keep a lucrative job or give up everything to take up their cross and follow Him.

When Jesus declared to His listeners they had to hate their family in order to follow Him, He was pointing out the necessity of choosing Him over anyone else. Their love for Christ would have to be so great, their commitment to Him so firm, that their love for and commitment to anyone else, even themselves, would pale in comparison.

By using this exaggerated comparison, Jesus was clarifying the importance of choosing Him far above anyone else. Nothing, and no one else, should be in competition for our hearts.

Unfortunately, most of us do not consider all of this before becoming believers. While we relish the things Jesus can give us, we probably do not think about what Jesus will expect from us, and what it will cost us to follow Him.

Make no mistake—the cost is high. Is following Jesus worth more than everything you have, your closest relationships and anything else you love?

If you got out a scale and placed everything in your life on one side of the scale—all your relationships, possessions, positions, accolades, and anything else of value to you—and Jesus on the other side, He would far outweigh the worth of everything else.

But you have to decide: Is He worth it to you? When your family objects to what you feel the Spirit prompting you to do, will you follow Christ and do it anyway? When friends make fun of you, telling you you’ve gotten a bit radical, taken this faith thing a little too far, will you follow Christ anyway?

The cost of following Christ is high. In truth, it will cost you everything. Make your calculations now. Are you willing to pay that cost?

Reflection Questions

  1. When you first followed Christ, did you calculate the cost? Why or why not?
  2. Have you ever had to choose Christ’s command over the expectation of your friends or family? When? What happened? Was it worth it?
  3. How much is Christ worth to you?

About the Author

Amy Keys

Since 2005, Amy was a member of Brentwood Baptist, then helped launch The Church at Station Hill where she’s now a member. Currently, she’s a homeschool mom who also teaches writing and history at local homeschool tutorials. Since 2002, she’s been writing for the Student Ministry department at LifeWay Christian Resources. Amy is married to Dale and they have three children: Hannah, Hayley, and Caleb. In her free time, she enjoys cooking healthy food, camping, and hiking.