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     28 “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? 29 For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, 30 saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’ 

     31 “Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32 If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. 33 In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.

Luke 14:28-33 (NIV)

There is something about watching a house being built that thrills me. The design of the house, the way the walls are constructed with the stud skeletons inside… everything about it excites me as I anticipate the finished home.

I once observed someone building an addition to an old house they were fixing up as I rode to and from work each day. It was exciting to see the addition take shape and I was feeling so proud for the owners, whoever they were. But then the work stopped and weeks passed, months passed, and the plywood that had been nailed to the outside began to curl outward and the house turned into a great disaster. It was apparent that someone had failed to consider the cost, either in manpower or materials, and now what had started out to be so grand had turned into a major embarrassment to the builders.

Jesus doesn’t want his followers to begin something we won’t finish, especially when it comes to our walk with him. He tells us his “yoke is easy” (Matthew 11:30) but that is when we are walking in step with him. Are we willing to walk in step with him when the road gets rough? Or are we only fair-weather friends? As long as everything is comfortable and rosy for us we will follow, but when misfortune comes our way we hold God responsible for it and resist the yoke instead of trusting it. If we are going to be true disciples of Jesus, we must count the cost and rise above our circumstances by staying in step with Him.

Lord, help us to be totally surrendered to you. Let us count the cost and count it all Joy as we trust you to help us to weather the storms that may come our way. Let us rise to the challenge and share your word with others, regardless of the cost.

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

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     25 Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters–yes, even his own life–he cannot be my disciple. 27  And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:25-27 (NIV)

     Wow! These are strong words coming from Jesus. But before we throw them out, we need to consider the verses that come before this section. These tell about the parable of the great banquet in which the first guests who were invited gave so many excuses for not coming to the banquet.

     I believe Jesus is saying that when we allow our families to come between us and our relationship with him we are loving them at Jesus expense. His use of the word “hate” seems to be a form of comparison to the love we have for Jesus. Otherwise, this passage flies in the face of “Honor your father and mother” in the Ten Commandments. When so many of Jesus’ teachings focus on love, we have no choice but to see this as a figure of speech.

     What comes to mind when I think of these passages are new converts from Islam, Jewish, and other faiths who follow Jesus in spite of becoming disowned by their own families. I believe they understand best what Jesus is saying. They had to be willing to turn their backs on their families and walk away to be able to follow Jesus. That doesn’t mean they truly hate them. In reality, their hearts grieve and break for their families and they continue to pray that they will come to know and love Jesus.

     Jesus isn’t looking for fair weather disciples. He wants followers who are willing to live in new and different ways as they follow his leading. He wants people who will put their very lives in danger if necessary to follow him.

     What have you given up to follow Jesus? Has your relationship with Christ cost you any friends? Or have you allowed peer pressure or pressure from family members to keep you from developing an intimate relationship with Jesus?

     Lord Jesus, I love you. Help me to recognize the things that I have allowed to come between you and me and help me to turn my back on them and walk away.

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.


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