I have a habit of biting off more than I can chew.
Now, that’s an analogy that needs no explanation; it’s just part of our vernacular, which probably means that there are a WHOLE BUNCH of us that do it. Frequently. Constantly chewing and rarely swallowing between bites.
Like signing up for a 50-mile two-day bike hike when I was in high school with no serious preparation, wishing in mid-stride I could fall off and ride the rest of the way in the S.A.G. (Support And Gear) vehicle. “SAG” is aptly named for another reason…
Like acquiring two “free” dogs from the local veterinarian for our first real family pets, only to find out, in a variety of financially creative ways, there is no such animal as a free dog. Ever.
Like when the home and garden store showed up and unloaded twelve old railroad ties and a palette of dirt in the spot where I envisioned a garden. Not that I had the skill or tools to do the job or anything. (Bob will never let me live that one down…but he enjoys the produce.)
Like deciding to become a nurse. Or get married. Or have children.
Not always real proficient about “counting the cost”, this one, not that I would have done anything different, but a little more heads up might have been helpful.
Which is what Jesus is getting at here, I think:
“But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it?”
This is unfortunately one of the basic concepts that modern, first-world Christianity has effectively done away with. Our culture understands cost/benefit analysis; we should honor that and give it to them straight up. I like how Dietrich Bonhoeffer put it (before he died for his faith during WW2):
“When God calls a man, He bids him come and die.”
Now that’ll bring ‘em in the door.
The point is, we do people (and the Body of Christ) no favors by withholding basic information. We are in a war, because God says so:
“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”
I’m not advocating an overemphasis on the enemy, but ignoring this historical part of our Christian heritage (which still goes on powerfully in other parts of the world, BTW), is a dangerous oversight of our 21st century mindset. Thankfully, for those willing to take up the sword, we are not left without training.
“And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us.”
If technology has taught us anything, it’s that just because we can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not there.
Luke 14:28; Ephesians 6:12; 1 Corinthians 2:12 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.