Warning: This is a somewhat discursive ramble. I will come back and clean it up later.
~ In my previous post, I blogged about how way back when I was an undergrad at the Uni, I sat down and counted the cost of becoming a Christian and decided that I was up for it even if the going was rough. Something about this never quite settled with me. Here I am trying to process this.
So here is a thought. Suppose that as I sat outside of Harriman Hall, counting the cost – what if my thoughts were something like this:
First Thought: “Yes. I know that if I were to become a Christian, the going would be rough. My values and the values of many others would clash. I might suffer ridicule, ostracism and who knows what. It would be tough. However – HOWEVER – I can do it. I’ve got what it takes. I am a winner. I can do it. Look at my past victories. Lets go!”
~ There seems to be something not quite right about the attitude present in this kind of thinking. It seems to run afoul of verses like:
“… not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” ~ Eph. 2:9
“Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” ~ 2 Cor. 10:17
Another way to think would be something like:
Second Thought: “Yes. I know that if I were to become a Christian, the going would be rough. My values and the values of many others would clash. I might suffer ridicule, ostracism and who knows what. It would be tough. However – HOWEVER – God will be with me. He will see me through everything. I know that I bring nothing to the table, but God is there and He is sufficient. I know that I will not be alone.”
~ Why do I point this out? A couple of reasons why.
(1) Prior to becoming a Christian, if you sit down and count the cost, then I am inclined to believe that your thinking would take the form of one of the above two thoughts. If it takes the form of the first thought, then the odds are that you have missed the boat. You are not a Christian.
After becoming a Christian however if you sit down to count the cost, then it may go as follows…
(2) Most people when they come across the Luke 14 passage on the Tower and the King’s army may likely process it in terms like I often have. They might sit down and think about some challenge that they are facing in life and about whether they have what it takes to overcome it. If upon reflection, they find that they do not have what it takes to overcome the challenge, they abandon it.
~ The issue here is that when we count the cost, we only look at the raw material that is set before us. This might mean we look at out own skills and assets or some other ones around us, and then decide that they are not enough for the task at hand. So we drop out.
And this may well be a very accurate assessment, however it is still not adequate grounds for abandoning the task. Not if you are a Christians. Why? Because if you are like me, you may all too often fail to factor God in all this.
This passage is about discipleship. So it is about God discipling you. So when you count the cost, you need to think about what God is doing in your life. How is He leading you. Even if the challenge seems insurmountable, it may be His will to take you right straight through it to success.
~ I guess what I am saying is that whether we are building a tower or whether we are going to war or just trying to do the Christian walk on a given day, then counting the cost involves the recognition that of our own selves we are inadequate. We do not have what it takes to build the tower or go to a war. Yet we might still do the very same in spite of coming up short in our calculus. Why? Because our calculus does not just simply involve the material and natural. No. It involves God.