“If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. “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 14:26-30 NIV
The word “finish” is the focus for a moment. According to this scripture, being able to finish costs something, and the cost should be determined ahead of time. It is no mistake that Christ mentions cost here in the context of explaining the life of true discipleship. No one starts something in life without anticipating a finish. We start renovations on our home, anticipating what we want it to look like when we complete the work. We start college, expecting to finish! We start a family anticipating having a full life with a great “finish” or legacy of children and grandchildren! So, we start our life with Christ knowing that we are promised a fantastic future in eternity with the Lord!
Finishing well is mentioned several times in the Word, 2 Timothy 4:7 says… “I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” Acts 20:24 says “But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” And the cost? Hebrews 12:2 – “Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” For the finish of the joy (us, His Bride), that was before Him, it cost Him His life.
It seems no one wants to talk too much about the cost. We just want to stay focused on the finish. I remember when I was thinking about going to college. I started when I was 34 and graduated when I was 38. I knew that it was going to cost some money, but I did not know how much of my life it was going to cost! I determined ahead of time that if I was going to do this, that I was going to graduate with honors, but the cost! Oh my, I paid dearly! I saw the sun come up many times trying to stay up all night to do homework and to get it all done! I worked with the end in mind; I was willing to pay the price, in order for the prize of honors, and a solid resume!
We have spent some time on Sunday mornings discussing the cost of being a true disciple of Christ and that it must cost in order to be authentic. I listed some life decisions earlier that we start in order to have a great finish, such as home renovations, college, and having a family. However, if you have any experience in any of these, you’ll know there are some unforeseen “costs” that come up that we don’t expect. We don’t anticipate the price of late nights, emergency room visits, or hard talks that come with raising a family.
It is easy to count the cost of doing home renovations or to go to college, but what about when we want to see the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth? What if I want to hear “Well done” when I finish my life. What if I want to live so close to the Lord that I get to see revival in our young people? What if I want the finished work of my life to be that of one who impacted the nations? What is the cost? Am I willing to pay it? I can say that I would lay down my life for the cause of Christ, but I can’t even lay down chocolate! I haven’t laid down the remote long enough for “face-time” with Jesus! I have yet to “pay” anything into the finished product that I want for my short time here on earth! I have not laid down my life, my wallet, my agenda, or my priorities. What about the cost of taking up my cross to follow Him? In order to see the complete “tower” of my life and not just a foundation that was started years ago and nothing standing on it (referencing Luke 14:29, For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it)?
I urge you to consider how you want to finish. What will your “tower” look like? Are you paying for it? If the saying goes, “You get what you pay for,” is your finish the equivalent of a dollar or, is it worth your life?
Jesus, You showed us the model of how to live the crucified life. At a young age, You were about Your father’s business. You did what Your Father did, You said what Your Father said. You never lived for yourself! You lived and died for me, to show me that living the life as a disciple is worth it! Eternity with You is the finish that I long for! And if laying my life down for the high calling of Christ, is the only way to finish well, then I know I have the grace and encouragement from You that I will need to do so! I love You, Lord and I want to spend my life poured out for others just as you did while you were here! I give You the glory because You alone deserve it! IN JESUS NAME! AMEN!
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