Luke 14:1-35, Proverbs 25:6-7, Romans 12:16
For many years, I drove past a massive, half-finished resort and hotel on my way to work. Situated in a nice, up-and-coming part of town, this structure was always a bit of a mystery to me. I wondered, How did they start this thing, get so far, and then just leave it here?
As it stood, it was more than a bit of an eyesore, a noticeable mar on an otherwise beautiful skyline. Even though it had great potential and was located in a great spot, it was left vacant, dilapidated, and unused. I heard that the developer and builder had dramatically underestimated the financial burden and had been forced to abandon the project during a tough economic season. They had failed to properly weigh the cost.
Luke 14:27 is a sobering challenge from Jesus to correctly weigh the cost of following Him. Like the builders who abandoned that building before they’d finished, those who set out to follow Jesus without really understanding the all-encompassing nature of their commitment are in trouble.
The teachings of Jesus in Luke 14:25–33 can sound a bit gruff or perhaps even harsh. However, they served as a compassionate wake-up call to some of His followers, those anticipating a cushy role in Jesus’s kingdom. It was the common expectation of many first-century Jews that the Messiah would overthrow Rome and restore the self-rule and peace of Israel, bringing prosperity and comfort back to the land. For someone in the crowds with that expectation, the idea of dying to self would’ve made little sense.
We don’t have the same messianic expectations of Jesus that His first listeners did, but we sometimes expect that following Jesus will open doors to comfort, prosperity, and easy living. While following Jesus is certainly the most purposeful pursuit, and while there are certainly seasons of joy and celebration along the way, we need to be prepared to daily hoist our own crosses.
My prayer today is that the Spirit of God would give us the wisdom to accurately assess the cost of following Jesus, and then that we would wholeheartedly commit to the journey before us, regardless of personal sacrifice. Let us have the foresight to finish the building God has called us to build, not for our glory, but for the sake of His kingdom and life the of world to come.
Written by Andrew Stoddard