Counting The Cost

In continuing our series on things that don’t always get talked about in the church or Christian homes when it comes to salvation, today we will discuss what it means to count the cost when it pertains to following Jesus.

There are many times the salvation message is given, or people are talking about having a relationship with Jesus; we tend to talk about the things that are positive or that sell it.

This is not how it is in every church or Christian home, but unfortunately, many don’t discuss the costs of following Jesus.

Choosing to Follow Jesus has been the best decision I have made in my life, but it has not been the easiest.

I first came to know Jesus when I was about 9 or 10. I had been in church my whole life, but I had started asking questions, seeking to understand who God was, and wanting to know Him.

Soon after I accepted Jesus into my heart and life, I was baptized and began this new life.

There wasn’t much talk about how this commitment to Jesus would cost us or the difficulties we could run into along the way. There wasn’t much talk about what was next in this journey.

So this week, we will talk a little about the cost of following Jesus. Next week we will talk a little bit about what comes next after we take the first steps of acknowledging we are sinners in need of a Savior, receiving the truth of who Jesus is, and deciding to follow Him.

“As they were going along the road, someone said to Him, “I will follow You wherever You go.” And Jesus said to him, “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” And He said to another, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.” But He said to him, “Allow the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim everywhere the kingdom of God.” Another also said, “I will follow You, Lord; but first permit me to say good-bye to those at home.” But Jesus said to him, “No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:57-62 (ESV)

Sometimes following Christ is uncomfortable, it is not always easy, and it can be lonely. Let’s look at Jesus’ response to the first person who told Him they would follow Jesus wherever He went. Here Jesus warns this person that He doesn’t have a place to lay His head.

You don’t always feel like you have a home or a place where you can rest or fit in. Are we willing to follow Jesus anyway? Or will we run to find a more comfortable and easy place to be?

I remember when I got to a place where I was very lonely. I could not understand why I was having trouble making friends or felt so alone when God said He was with me and never left me. Looking back now, I see I had the friends that mattered, and I didn’t need some of what I thought I needed at that time.

Some things I needed were missing, He wanted to be those things for me, but I couldn’t see that then.

I didn’t have friends saying, “I know this feels hard, but you aren’t alone; let’s walk together.” I did not have the friends I needed who shared their struggles as they were following Jesus. So many people kept those things private and never shared them.

I would either get scriptures spoken to me, or because the conversation was too uncomfortable, the topic got diverted to a more comfortable one.

I am here to tell you that following Jesus is the most incredible adventure ever, but it is the hardest one I have been on. It gets lonely. It becomes very uncomfortable, and some things He asks us to do are not easy and feel impossible.

I can tell you, He is there. He doesn’t leave you or me.

He has also given us one another to come alongside and walk together on this journey. That is part of how He hasn’t left us alone.

He has given us His Word so we can know Him better and be encouraged and spurred on toward all He has called us to be and do.

We can call out to Him anytime in prayer because Jesus reconciled us to God and restored that relationship with Him. We can cry with Him. We can give Him all our good, bad, and ugly.

He has given us His Holy Spirit to be our helper.

There will be seasons where He seems quiet or distant. There will be seasons when it feels like Jesus is not very close to us. In those times, the enemy wants us to believe it is the truth, but it is not.

The next person Jesus spoke to and said, “Follow Me,” to said, “I will, but first.”

Jesus’ response to this person brings reflection. We see that Jesus wants us to put Him first in our lives. There are scriptures throughout the Bible that back this up.

As I read this scripture over the past week, I remembered many times when I said, “I will spend time with You, but I need to do this first.” I did those things and never returned to spend time with the Lord.

I believe this is part of what Jesus is saying here. These things we need to do or those expectations we are trying to fill that seem so important are not the most important thing.

This reminds me of Mary and Martha.

“Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.” But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42 (ESV)

Martha was worried about all the preparations and things that needed to be done. She was agitated that her sister Mary was sitting at Jesus’ feet and not helping with all the work needing to be done. Martha talked to Jesus about this hoping He would set Mary straight. I love Jesus’ response.

He helped Martha see that Mary was where she needed to be, doing the most important thing—sitting and listening to Jesus.

The work will always be there. There will always be things that need to be done, but we must remember that following Jesus is the most important thing. Being with Jesus is the most important thing. Obeying Jesus is the most important thing.

Listening to and Obeying God will sometimes look to others as though you are slacking or not doing what they think is right for you to be doing at that moment.

Sometimes being obedient to God means disappointing people, which can bring uncomfortable reactions.

Jesus was not a people-pleaser. He consistently said He was there to do His Father’s Will.

That was ALWAYS His priority.

That is a cost of following Jesus. People will not always approve, be happy with, or agree that we are doing what God wants us to be doing.

That is not a comfortable or easy way of living either.

This life is full of expectations and opinions. But only One matters above all. It doesn’t mean we don’t hear or consider people, but God comes first. His voice is the most important voice in our lives and, ultimately, is the one we listen to above all voices.

These are things we don’t always discuss when it comes to salvation. Sometimes we say, “I have decided to follow Jesus.” so easily without thinking through what we are saying.

I believe this is why we see so many prodigals and people who have walked away because following Jesus became too hard.

We need to do a better job of talking about this topic. I think we need to be better at being vulnerable and sharing where our walk with Jesus has been challenging and the right and wrong ways we have dealt with those times.

So today, I want to start this conversation. Tomorrow, I will begin again with my “Let’s Talk About It” Videos. You will be able to find them on my social media sites and YouTube.

I can say I have decided to follow Jesus, and I won’t turn back, but I have taken a couple of detours and have been in some wrestling matches with God many times in different seasons of my life. I want to be open and transparent with you, praying you will feel comfortable sharing

Jesus felt it was important enough to talk about the cost of discipleship in the Bible. It must be important enough for us to talk about together.

Heavenly Father, Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for Your love for us to give us what we need in these challenging and uncomfortable times as we follow You here on earth. I pray that You would speak to each of our hearts today and help us to allow Your word and Your truth to seep into our hearts so we may follow You fully today and every day until we see You again. Help us encourage and spur each other on toward You in this life. In Jesus’ Name. Amen!