THE WORD: Following Christ means counting the cost and paying the price

View of the partially completed Washington Monument circa 1860, which stood unfinished for 25 years. (Matthew Brady | Public Domain)

In Luke 14, Christ teaches several lessons to his followers, which included the famous reference to “counting the cost” of following Christ. Jesus compares following him to building a tower. He rhetorically asks whether one would make sure he had enough resources to complete a tower before beginning construction. Here Jesus is asking whether his would-be disciples have the wherewithal to be a disciple lest they try and fail.

The second part of his lesson is about paying the costs of believing in Jesus. Christ talks of warring kings who count the strength of their own forces and those of their adversary. But, unlike kings who might seek conditions of peace to preserve their positions, Christ does not desire conditions of peace with spiritual adversaries. Christians cannot make peace with the sin or the desires of the world.

Luke 14: 28-33

28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?

29 Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him,

30 Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.

31 Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?

32 Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace.

33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.