Count the Cost

Lou Lotz

Read: Luke 14:25-33

If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. (v. 26)

The Lord’s followers have to hate their own families? Really? Of course not. Jesus was not demanding that would-be disciples desert their spouses or abandon their children. This was his way of recruiting serious soldiers and discouraging dilettantes. He used strong language to blow away the chaff. Would a king wage war against another king without first considering whether he could win? No. Would a builder launch a construction project without first making certain that he had the resources to finish the job? Certainly not. In both parables the message is as plain as a pikestaff: before you sign up to be my disciple, you’d better count the cost.

Churches nowadays, many of them, try to cover up the cost. The clergy—present company included—try to attract prospects. Jesus challenged them. Your pastor reads books and magazine articles about how to add members. Jesus seemed more interested in subtraction. To us, a new member is a catch. To Jesus, it meant a cross.

“Half-hearted living may enable us to avoid the cost of discipleship,” says pastor John Thomas, “but in the end we will miss its joy and find ourselves on the outside looking in when the banquet begins.” Discipleship is demanding. Count the cost, and then say yes to him who took up his cross for you. —Lou Lotz

Prayer: Help me, Lord, to take up my cross.