Counting the Cost

(Taken from a paper I recently wrote for Dynamics of the Spiritual Journey, my Tuesday night class.)

There was a canyon near the city I grew up in. Many wealthy people had homes in and around the canyon. A man bought property on the edge of the canyon wall. This land had one of the best views of the canyon and the lake below and was an excellent place for a dream home. The man was quite eccentric and designed a house with an entirely steel framework that resembled the head of a bird of prey. He began to build the house jutting over the side of the cliff, but he misjudged. The man quickly ran out of funds after construction began. He went bankrupt, and the bank repossessed the land and the partially built house. The steel framework, the only thing to be completed on the house, still stands at the top of the cliff—a horrifically, ugly fixture surround by beautiful landscape and some of the finest homes in the area.

Every time that I drive out to the canyon I remember the story and see the monstrous memorial to the man who did not count the cost. Jesus told a similar story in Luke 24:28-30:

“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.’”

This he used as an example of counting the cost of discipleship. Jesus made it perfectly plain that if you desired to be in relationship with him as a disciple that it would cost you everything—your relationships with family and friends, wealth, etc. Everything had to be worth less in your estimate than your relationship with him.

This is where I find myself in Jesus’ story. Sitting and counting the cost. Desiring to be a disciple of Jesus, becoming his follower in doctrine and in conduct of life, but not yet certain of paying the full price. I sit counting the cost of truly following Jesus, not just believing in him, but learning to live like him—having the kind of relationships he had, seeking out the kind of wisdom he had, loving God as he did, loving others as he did. It is truly dangerous and truly costly! So I sit and count, deciding whether or not to invest.