Jump Start # 3204
Luke 14:28 “For which one of you when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost, to see if he has enough to complete it?”
In our verse today, Jesus is revealing that there is a cost to discipleship. Salvation may be free, but staying with Jesus comes with a cost. And, in our verse Jesus uses the illustration of building a tower. Most of us have not built towers, but we have purchased cars, built homes and did some major remodeling and updating. We’ve done that in our home. We’ve gone through four different phases of renovations. A neighbor, who happens to be a top notch custom home builder, is our go to person for all the work we want done. I don’t have the time, the tools or the know how. I can write checks and he does the work for me. And, what folks say is generally true, it takes longer than you expected and often it costs more than you planned. With our neighbor the price is always upfront before he begins. It is at that point that I hit the calculator and do some figuring. Can we afford it? Do we need to trim down some of the plans? Or, does it fit in the budget and do we give our guy a green light?
Calculating…do you have enough? Can you complete the job? In Jesus’ illustration, the failure to count the cost results in an unfinished tower which becomes a point of ridicule from those who see it. He started, but he never finished.
From this we must ask ourselves, just how hard are we trying? Paul described Epaphras as one who is always wrestling in prayer for you (Col 4:12). That’s intense. Hebrews makes the statement, “You have not resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin” (4:12). How hard are we fighting sin?
Our times doesn’t do well with effort. I saw a sign at a fast food place that was looking to hire help. The sign said, “Paid daily.” Daily. You can’t two weeks to get paid? You can’t wait one week? Work one day and get paid that day. What a nightmare in paper work that must be for the owner of that place.
How hard are you trying? Wrestling? To the point of shedding blood? Consider:
First, how hard are you trying to attend the worship services each week? Since Covid, many find it easier and easier to skip. Do you allow little things to keep you away from worshipping the God that loves you? You have to put forth some effort and you have to want to. The lazy bones can keep one at home. Not seeing the value of worship and fellowship can keep one at home. If all one thinks about is self, what do I get out of it, what’s in it for me, they are likely to stay home. But when the attention is placed upon the Lord and one understands the great joy of seeing other Christians, then he will push himself to get down to the church building. We must ask, “How hard are you trying?”
Second, how hard are you trying to make a good marriage? Are you forgiving as God has forgiven you? Do you complain a lot? Do you allow things to irritate you? Are you doing those special little things that you did when you were dating? How hard are you trying? Satan would love for you to turn against each other. Satan would love for you to throw in the towel on your marriage. But you know better. God wants better from you. Some days it’s easy to be married. Other days it’s not so easy. Attitudes clash. Opinions differ. Stay home or go out. Buy things or save. Grace, love and forgiveness make all the difference. How hard are you trying?
Third, how hard are you trying to live like Jesus? God wants us to be conformed to His image (Romans 8:29). Are you letting your light shine? Are you practicing the golden rule? Are you thoughtful and thankful? Are you kind and generous? Is everything always about you? Do you take on the spirit of those around you? Do you find yourself becoming negative like those around you? How hard are you trying?
And, when we stop and really think about it, we’ve done some hard things before. Some worked all day and went to school at night so they could finish a college degree. Some picked up a second job to pay off some debt. We’ve managed babies, aging parents, less than pleasant jobs, family reunions and holiday get togethers that were stressful, and tight budgets. Some have served overseas in the military. Some have worked twelve hour shifts that were more than twelve hours. Some have worked more than sixty hours a week. Some have stayed awake all night in the hospital, watching a loved one as life was slipping away. We understand putting in the extra effort. We know hard work. We understand what it means to bust it. We’ve done those things because it was the right thing to do. We’ve done those things because there was a goal before us. We’ve done those things because we had to and we needed to.
Shouldn’t it be the same for the most important things—worshipping God, building a great marriage and walking with the Lord? Maybe it’s not that we can’t do it, maybe there is a problem with do we want to? We’ve shown that we can do hard things. Maybe we don’t see the value and the upside to what the Lord expects of us.
How hard are you trying? Do you think you could turn it up a notch or two? Would you do that for Jesus?