“For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it— lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish’? Luke 14:28-33
I have observed that quite a number of Christians are uncomfortable with being asked to look at the end of their journey as pilgrims on earth. Maybe it’s the fear of death or of letting go of the familiar for the unknown.
Jesus teaches otherwise. In the above passage He tells every disciple or follower of Him to start their journey by first looking at the end. Why?
Because finishing well is not accidental but planned. Because finishing well is not the only option for those who start. There is the possibility of failure to finish well, especially for those who have no knowledge of what is required to complete the race.
Jesus counsels all of us who follow Him to:
“… sit down first and count the cost, whether he (we) have enough to finish” Luke 14:28
While there is great benefit in learning to enjoy the moment and not lose out on the joy that each moment holds because of a needful view to see the end, we must follow Jesus’ instruction to take a moment and count the cost of finishing well.
Of Jesus, Hebrews 12:2 states:
“… Jesus, … who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame…”.
Enduring the cross and the shame was a price He had to pay to be able to finish.
In His farewell speech to the Ephesian elders in Acts 20, Apostle Paul states:
“… except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me. But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus,…”. V. 23-24
Not counting his life of any value was a price he had to pay to be able to finish.
To His disciples and to every believer, Jesus gives a guide: 1. Matthew 10:37 – He that loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
2. Luke 9:23 – Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.
There are a number of scriptures that serve as guides on what manner of things those who wish to finish well must take on board or do away with. No man living for himself or not taking steps to get his mind renewed after the confession to salvation can claim to have equipped himself either to do the will of God or to finish well.
If you haven’t yet counted the cost, I beseech you by the mercies of God that you take a break from everything, sit down, arm yourself with a mind to be brutally honest with God and yourself, take a piece of paper and pen and confront you, your life, your choices, your heart, your ways, the quality of your thoughts, if there be anything that you have over time given a higher priority than God, the time you commit to the word and prayer, are you sharing the gospel with the unsaved – are you an effective witness?. The list of issues to consider are endless.
Counting the cost of your discipleship is not an option, it is the only way to ensure that you and I are able to finish well.
The true cost? All. Everything. Nothing must be of greater value than Jesus. Nothing must be put ahead of Him, nothing must count or matter more than Him. All that we are, all that we have must be made subject to Him. That is the only way to go if we are to finish well.
All means all – time, talent, money, thoughts, marriage, agendas, ambitions, plans, desires, relationships, – everything.
Following God till the end is a decision you need to make yourself – and then you turn to the Holy Spirit for the power to do so, for though it is your responsibility to count the cost, the power to pay does not lie within yourself but in the Lord.
Statistics show that only 30% of Christian leaders finish strong.
If you have heeded Jesus’ teaching and have truly counted the cost – remind yourself of what the cost is, encourage yourself on why it is better to pay it and continue to grow in His grace and finish well.
If you have never sat down since you became a Christian to do this, please do so now. Study the scriptures, spend time with God in the place of prayer and find out from Him what His purpose for your life is and exactly how this can be successfully achieved.
I join my faith with you that you will not run in vain; I pray that the Lord will remove from you any and everything capable of hindering you from finishing well in Jesus name.