More About Counting the Cost
Jesus’ illustrations in Luke 14:25-33 emphasize the importance of counting the cost of discipleship before embarking on it. They are followed by these words: “Therefore, salt is good; but if even salt has become tasteless, with what will it be seasoned? It is useless either for the soil or for the manure pile; it is thrown out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear” (vv. 34-35).
A disciple may become useless. One way to prevent that is to continue counting the cost in daily service to Jesus. Consider three applications.
The Spiritual Cost of Financial Decisions
Lot chose to move to Sodom because of the financial opportunity there, despite its reputation for immorality (Genesis 13). He ended up losing all he had, his family, and almost his life (Genesis 19). We must not make the same mistake, allowing the material benefits of a choice to override the more important spiritual considerations. Don’t just look at how much money you will make in a potential job; think about the environment you will be in, the demands on your time, the stress you will be under, etc. Likewise, count the spiritual cost of a potential move. What are the moral influences in the new place? Is there a good church there? What impact will your leaving have on the church here? Before you sign up for overtime or mom working outside the home, weigh the spiritual impact, on your children as well as yourself.
The Time Cost of Commitments
There is nothing inherently wrong with sports, scouts, band, school clubs, and the like. However, they come at a price. The price is often shrinking church attendance, fewer Bible class teachers, less hospitality, less service, etc. While we are filling our children’s lives with all these “enriching” activities, are we training them to put the Lord first? Are we doing that ourselves?
The Influence Cost of Marginal Activities
Disciples are to be salt and light in the world (Matthew 5:13-16). Our example, our influence, is our salt and light. What is that worth to you? If we have a proper concern, we will surely stop and count the cost of an activity which might lessen it. Some attire is just plain immodest; other choices might be an improvement but still not reflect a character that is focused on God’s approval. Some speech is vulgar; a disciple will not only avoid those terms, he will also stay away from borderline terminology. Disciples who are serious about being salt and light will exercise the same care in choosing entertainment, in how they transact business, in how they respond when wronged, etc.
Make it a habit to stop and count the cost.