For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace.Luke 14: 28-32
If you’ve ever budgeted for a home renovation or a special purchase, you recognized that Jesus’ first parable above is a very reasonable, practical illustration to describe the seriousness of making a decision to follow Christ as is the story of the commander in chief. Here’s another inferior illustration on a much smaller scale:
Recently I entered a fast food store to pick up a fountain drink and a high calorie, low nutritional value snack. Once I entered I realized I only had a dollar and some change in my pocket. To avoid an embarrassing situation, I carefully calculated the cost of the items and the necessary sales tax. With just pennies remaining, I left the store with my treat in hand.
Budgeting and planning are worth the effort, but how much more carefully should we weigh our decisions on spiritual matters? There are a couple of verses that serve as bookends to the passage above.
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple”
.”So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple”Luke 14:26-27, 33
Hold on a minute, you might be thinking… Why is Jesus a hater? First, we know He is not. When Jesus uses the word hate, it does not mean to literally hate your family (although some may find that easier). He is using the Semitic term for “hate” which means to love the other less than Christ. First and foremost we are called to be completely committed to Christ and then we can love our families as we should.