“For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it?” Luke 14:28
Several years ago my parents took their granddaughters to lunch. It was meant to be a treat and a time to spend some quality time together. They enjoyed a nice meal together and good conversation between them. I believe that my parents even splurged for some dessert, like grandparents do. At the end of the meal the server brought the check and laid it on the table saying, “I will take this when you are ready.” As soon as the server had left one of my daughters looked at my dad and said she wanted to pay the bill. My dad assured her that it was his treat, but she insisted. She got out her little purse and, after rummaging a bit, pulled out two quarters and set them on the table. “There you go! I’ve got this!” she exclaimed.
In the above story my daughter had not counted the cost. She did not fully realize, at about 4, what it took to be able to pay the full price of the meal. Her heart was in the right place, but she was unable to pay the cost. I believe that our journey of faith is similar at times. We have the right heart and we set out with good intentions, but we have not counted the cost. Consequently, when the bill arrives we are unable to pay up. An example of this is when there is a brokenness in a relationship. Usually, we enter into relationships with the right heart and intention. We pour ourselves into the relationship desiring for the best. When the other person lets us down or disappoints us we get angry. We desire to offer grace, but we end up offering anger and judgment.
Grace is a costly endeavor. When Jesus tells the parable of the tower builder it is in the context of counting the cost of following him as a disciple. Jesus was asking his followers to consider the cost of following him on their life. He tells them, “… none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions.” (14:33) There is a cost to following Jesus; it is a costly endeavor. Jesus is telling them to surrender everything they possess. Surrender your family, your house, your job, and your self. This is the most difficult aspect of surrendering to follow Jesus, surrendering your selfish desires.
This Sunday we will be talking about the first simple rule, do no harm. The greatest challenge in “do no harm” is surrendering your ego. As author Rueben Job states, “To abandon the way of the world and follow the way of Jesus is a bold move and requires honest, careful, and prayerful consideration.” I hope you will join me as we continue our message series “How to Change the World.” See you in church.