We have to count the cost of so many things in our day-to-day lives. Purchase anything from a cup of coffee to a new vehicle. Before making the transaction, you determine if you have the money, or if you will be able to make the monthly payments. If you don’t, you don’t make the purchase. Maybe you have been given a job offer. If the pay is higher than your current income, but the job would require a move, you might take a piece of paper and make a list of the pros and cons for this offer. When you total the numbers for each, you make your decision based on whichever is greater. Is that what Jesus told us to do?
Luke 14:28 “For which of you, wishing to build a farm building, does not first sit down and calculate the cost [to see] whether he has sufficient means to finish it?”
Before we answer the question, let’s apply this concept in a different way. When the Lord gives you a new assignment, are you to treat it in the same manner as described for the job offer to decide whether to accept or reject His assignment? God – the omniscient and Holy One – doesn’t present us with a new assignment for our approval or disapproval based on our reasoning. We need to remember that His best for us is always to do His will, which includes all His assignments. God does want us to count the cost, but for a very different reason.
Luke 14:26-30 “26 If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his [own] father and mother [in the sense of indifference to or relative disregard for them in comparison with his attitude toward God] and [likewise] his wife and children and brothers and sisters — [yes] and even his own life also — he cannot be My disciple. 27 Whoever does not persevere and carry his own cross and come after (follow) Me cannot be My disciple. 28 For which of you, wishing to build a farm building, does not first sit down and calculate the cost [to see] whether he has sufficient means to finish it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid the foundation and is unable to complete [the building], all who see it will begin to mock and jeer at him, 30 Saying, This man began to build and was not able (worth enough) to finish.” AMP
Let’s consider this in light of Paul’s life. He was warned about many dangers and perils – shipwrecks, venomous snake bites, beatings, stonings, etc. – awaiting him in every city to which the Lord was sending him. It wasn’t so he could decide whether to accept the call, but so he would be prepared for the difficulties – not surprised and thrown off track by them. Had he not had any idea ahead of time, Paul probably would have begun to question (doubt) whether he had really heard God (“I must have missed God”), and would have left the course marked out for him as soon as the troubles began. Because he knew much of what faced him, and in the all-sufficiency of God’s grace, he remained strong in the Lord, regardless of the fiery darts that came his way.
You might never face anything like Paul did, but it is of utmost importance to count the cost for matters both big and small. You might have to turn your back on a loved one for the sake of the gospel, or face negative comments because you refuse to watch a TV show or movie that doesn’t help transform you – rather, it causes you to be conformed to the world. There are also major life changes, like giving up some of your independence to care for a loved one who can no longer live independently in safety. Whatever it is, when you determine it is the Lord’s will for you, count the cost, then draw on God’s grace. In that place you will be able to remain strong in the Lord, no matter the difficulties you will encounter on His path for you.