We have been exploring what Jesus says about discipleship in this multi-part series. Today, in Part 7, we will look at “Counting the Cost.”
In the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 14, Jesus Christ has a great deal to say about discipleship, as He does throughout Scriptures. As we look at all that it means to be a disciple of Christ, several things have become apparent:
“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’” (Luke 14:28-30 NIV)
It is not the cost of starting on the Christ-following journey that Christ is addressing here. He is urging us to look at the cost of finishing well. Sadly, many Christian pastors, ministry leaders, and missionaries do not finish well. Likewise, many marketplace Christ-followers fail in this area too. As it has been said: “Anyone can start something; only a few can finish well what they have started.”
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.” (1 Corinthians 9:24 NIV) What is this prize? I think the prize on this earth is the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22). And, of course, the prize in Heaven is eternal love, joy, peace, and more.
WARNING FOR CHRISTIAN LEADERS
Friends, we all need to count the cost of following Christ. This especially applies to anyone who is a vocational Christian leader or has the gift of leadership. We are warned by Scriptures: “Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” (James 3:1 NIV) For those of us in ministerial leadership roles of any sort, we must be willing to be transparent and accountable to those we lead. That “cost” comes with the job, and the privilege of teaching God’s Word comes with great responsibility and a heavy cost for failing to follow Christ’s Scriptures in our own lives and with those closest to us.
STEADY PATH, SAME DIRECTION
The metaphors (building a home or finishing a race) are wonderful reminders that finishing well is what counts. An unfinished house or race is not a noteworthy accomplishment. In order to be an effective disciple of Christ, I need to pace myself to make sure I cross the finish line of this life with accomplishments that are wholly pleasing to Christ Jesus. My works do not save me. But as we know: “In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” (James 2:17 NIV)
If we follow Christ in a “steady path in the same direction,” we will arrive where He wants us to go. That obedience is like a thousand-mile walk. It’s accomplished one step at a time. May we all have consistently vibrant relationships with the living God who calls us to be His faithful disciples.
Let us all count the cost, and let us finish well, as good and faithful servants and true disciples of Christ Jesus our Savior and Lord.
Your aspiring servant, Daniel M.
January 15, 2024
POSTSCRIPT: Dear friends, if this daily, transparent “Conversations with Christ” blesses you, please go to www.SOLIDpastors.org, where you will find these posted, and a repository of all, in English and Spanish. If you ever want to chat, you can reach me at Daniel@SOLIDpastors.org. May Christ bless you richly as you have your own intimate, daily conversations with Christ.