May 23

Counting the Cost—Later

Luke 14:28-30 For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it—lest, after he has laid the 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’?

Galatians 6:9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.

“If I only knew then what I know now.” Or you finish this one: “If I knew then what I know now, I would never have …………… “. Luke 14:28-30 is a question, but contains great direction for anyone starting a project. In context, of course, it’s about what we need to do to follow the Lord all the way to the end. See verse 33: “So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.”

One problem we might encounter with this verse is to think that our first commitment to follow Him closely all our days wasn’t going to be challenged by the enemy of our souls. God uses time to work things into our lives; the devil uses time to steal, kill and destroy as well. Many of us—especially those that came to Christ in our youth—are surprised with how difficult and challenging life can be. Following Him can alienate friends and family. It can limit us financially (or seem to). We can fall into the trap of the author of Psalm 73, who was “grieved” and “vexed” by the apparently easy life of unbelievers before getting his perspective cleansed.

The other common problem we might have with this verse is to think we took care of this once and for all when we made that first commitment. We can be discouraged by the stresses and strains of life, and can grow spiritually weary over time. That can turn into self-blame that we really didn’t count the cost enough or accurately.

But when we are younger, and/or newly saved, how can we know what life will be like? We grow in wisdom and understanding over time. Life is a powerful teacher. As we walk with Christ, read His word, love His people, and obey His commands, we mature. No one expects a normal 18-year-old to have the wisdom and perspectives of a 60-year-old.

This commitment, like forgiveness, is more of a stand of faith than a one-time event. It’s a position we stake out that we may need to go back to time and time again. The great news is that the reason we made the first commitment is the same as the reason we can re-commit: We have Jesus, and that is enough. “God with us” is the reason for our success, the one thing we can always count on, and the cornerstone of our ability to persevere.

Don’t let the enemy blame you if you feel you find yourself counting the cost again—or have done so several times. That’s why we have Galatians 6:9 (above). Life and trials may cause us to rethink our ability (or even desire) to make it to the end, but the presence of Jesus in our lives brings us reassurance, the power, and the very reason to finish the race.

Prayer: Lord, thank You for helping me count the cost all along the journey with You. Thank You for all Your encouragements along the way, and for reminding me that it’s Your power that takes me through, and Your presence with me that makes me want to finish with You.