“Don’t begin until you count the cost.” Whether buying a new car, building a house, or committing to a life with Christ, Jesus himself warns us to consider the cost – both financially and personally – before we make those decisions. There are obvious financial implications when buying new things, but even Jesus wants us to know what we are getting ourselves into when we live as followers of Christ.
Luke 14:28-30 warns against building a tower without the right plans or means to finish it. Yes, God wants us to be in a relationship with him, but as the parable of the sower explains, there will be some who accept the gospel, but quickly fade away because they did not have the foundation to stand upon in times of trial. “When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful,” (Matthew 13:21-22).
The tower or building in Luke 14 illustrates our Christian walk, or discipleship, with Jesus. In Alexander MacLaren’s commentary, he says, “We are always building, consciously or unconsciously… We are all rearing up a house for our souls in which we have to dwell; building character from out of the fleeting acts of conduct, which character we have to carry with us forever.”
Luke 18 tells of an encounter Jesus had with a man who was curious about how to build his home in Christ. The man, known as a “rich, young ruler,” asked Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life. In addition to keeping the commandments, Jesus said he should “sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” But verse 23 says, “When he heard this, he became very sad because he was very wealthy.”
The financial cost of following Jesus may require us to make sacrifices, give a little more than we think we can, change our spending habits, or evaluate our job situation. And it might initially make us sad. But the return on the investment in Christ is worth far more than we could ever imagine. Living for Christ now means living an eternal life in heaven later.
As Paul described heaven in 1 Corinthians 2:9, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”
28But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? 29Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you. 30They would say, ‘There’s the person who started that building and couldn’t afford to finish it!’
What is equivalent to the builder’s house in your life?
What changes (if any) do you need to make in order to begin counting the cost financially?