”Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? 29 For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, 30 saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’ 31 “Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he 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, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples. 34 “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? 35 It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out. Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.” Luke 14.28-35
Sometimes reading Jesus’ words, though simply spoken, are deeply profound with spiritual truths layers deep. It’s like peeling back an onion, just when you think you’ve reached the end there’s still more to go.
Jesus discusses building a tower and counting the cost before you build, or a king who counts the number of men before going into battle. Some might wander what this has to do with following Christ? One commentary suggests, “Jesus did not want a blind, naive commitment that expected only blessings. As a builder estimates costs or a king evaluates military strength (v. 31), so people must consider what Jesus expects of his followers before they commit their lives to him. (NIV Study Bible, Copyright © 1985, 1995, 2002, 2008, 2011 by Zondervan.)As my Professor Billy Abraham might reply, “What a splendid explanation of God’s Holy Word!”
And in truth, it is. The person who wants to build a building checks his bank account (or with the loan office) before laying the foundation so as not to get suck with a half built project that people will ridicule. And the king who’s going to battle and realizes he doesn’t have the soldiers to win, strikes for a peace accord before risking the loss of everything he has. So the person who decides to follow Christ counts the cost of sacrifice. Jesus wants us to “give up everthing we have” in order to be his disciple.
Earlier in chapter 14 we discussed the hyperbole of Jesus command to “hate mother, father, sister, brother, even self for the sake of the gospel.” We know this is Jesus making an exaggerated point. But is there really exaggeration in Jesus saying, “Those who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples,”? What is the definition of “everything”?
In the final verse in this chapter Jesus talks about salt. He says salt is good, “but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It’s fit neither for the soil or for the manure pile; it is thrown out.” We are that salt! We are to be God’s spice that stands out, enriches society, grows the kingdom.
The sacrifice of following Jesus is significant. Even in our imperfect, struggling state, even when we fall into sin, we continue to pursue the Lord and follow him. To be his disciples mean we deny self, take up our cross daily and follow Christ.
Are you following him today? Are you counting the cost? Are you becoming salt and light for the sake of Jesus?
”O Lord God, your are good. Come now, Lord God. Draw near to me. Help me walk in fullness of your love and in the richness of your favor. Send the Holy Spirit upon me that I might be everything you have called and created me to be. I want to follow you, to give you everything I have, to spread your Gospel by your grace and for your glory. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen