As a reader I love to walk through book stores and see what books are being published, especially the best sellers. Recently, I was walking through Barnes and Noble and could not help walking through the self-help section. Now sarcastically I can say to you this is my “favorite” section of the book store to walk through. I think I am especially entertained at the claims made by the authors. Lose weight just by changing how you think, become a millionaire in just two hours a day, learn Chinese in a week by listening to tapes for ten minutes a day. How many of you can attest to the truth of these claims? It seems too good to be true, if you want to achieve great things, don’t you have to do something significant to achieve them?
Jesus is walking with a crowd one day, and turns to them and says, “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? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘this person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’” (Luke 14:28-30, TNIV) Jesus had a whole group of people clamoring for his teaching, to change their lives, and Jesus wants to make something clear: everything comes at a cost. Jesus is not trying to send them all away, but instead to ask them to reflect for a moment on the cost of the decisions they make everyday. To be a follower of Jesus and to grow each day in your faith is a wonderful thing to do, but understand it is not free, it comes at a cost.
If I stay late at work, that means less time with my family, if you do that once or twice it’s not a big deal, but what if that becomes normal? What is the cost of that lost family time? There is a cost whether we seek transformation or if we try to keep things the same. If you talk to your children the same way at five as you do when they are 25, this likely will be ineffective and not allow for you to talk about deeper matters as your children grow up. Every choice has a cost.
Jesus challenge for us is to count the cost, to be cognizant of our choices and to be clear with ourselves what we are willing to pay. If you want to grow in your faith, you may need to change how you spend your money, sacrifice time watching some sports to go to small group or volunteer at church or cut back on your TV time so you can read the Bible and pray more. When you say I want to grow in my faith, I want God to change my life and make it better, are you ready to pay the cost required? What cost are you willing to pay for a life transformed by God?
- What are some costs for you in places you want to see transformation?
- What are some costs of following God that are often forgotten?
- What are some costs to you not to seek God’s transformation in your life?