Count the Cost (by Len Winneroski)

Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. – Luke 14:25-27

Have you ever started something that you didn’t finish? Unfortunately, I’ve done that a lot. For instance, I took a few lessons towards obtaining a pilots license, I started an Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership at Indiana Wesleyan University that I didn’t finish, and I experimented with a coffee company called Mad Scientist Coffee that I ended up stopping (my family was probably thankful for that termination since the 5 AM smoke alarms stopped going off too).

So why did I start all of these crazy things and not finish? It’s because I’m a passionate bloke and I tend to get excited about things and then just jump right in and start stuff before actually sitting down to count the cost. The financial cost, the time commitment, the sacrifice that my family would have to make while I’m pursuing my next “dream.”

Fortunately, I have managed to stick with a few things over the past 52 years. My marriage of over 30 years, my career as a research scientist which has been challenging and very rewarding, being there for my kids most of the time as they were growing up, and writing these silly little mannas and sharing them with anyone who is bored enough to read them.

The other day we were out for a walk and I ran across the “house” pictured above. It looks like someone had bought some land on the lake and started to build their dream house and just ran out of money. Now the incomplete home is up for sale. That makes me very sad.

This house made me think of Jesus’ teaching about counting the cost of becoming one of His disciples. If you read Luke 14:25-35 carefully, and pray for “ears to hear,” you will learn a few important things. If you “hear” more lessons from Jesus please post a comment and share them with us!

The first thing I noticed is that large crowds were traveling around with Jesus.

Normal people would be thrilled to have lots of “followers,” but what did Jesus say to them? He was not a very PC type, and He basically insulted them if I’m reading this correctly. I mean, what preacher in their right mind would say hard things to their congregation like Jesus did in Luke 14:26-27, if they wanted to maintain their rock star status?

Hate your family and carry a cross?

I know that those who know the Scriptures better than me are probably yelling at me right now to explain that the Greek word for “hate” used by Jesus actually means love less. And I know that we are often taught that Jesus was being figurative about carrying a cross like Him. Why do we say this? Do we want to sugar coat Jesus’ words so that we don’t offend any “seekers” who may be visiting our church the week that these verses are being preached? I don’t know.

I think that Jesus was preaching this way to shake people away that were more curious than committed. I think that Jesus was teaching this way to filter out the chaff so that He could identify the hearts that were fertile soil worthy of planting His Truth in. I think that Jesus was not PC most of the time, because He uses the sharp edge of Truth to shape our minds and hearts to God’s will.

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. – Hebrews 4:12

So where are you at with Jesus today friend? Are you lost, are you just a curious follower of Jesus, or are you so close to Jesus that you ate feeling the love and pain of truly following Him? There is a very real cost for being Christ’s disciple my friends. Jesus said it!

Let’s consider the cost friends, and if we are truly willing, let us pick up our heavy and bruising crosses. This won’t be easy but it is the only way to true joy and peace my friends.

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