We do not have to know about construction or experts in battle to figure out that what Jesus said makes perfect sense. The total cost of a building need to be considered before construction begins. The number of troops in a battle is crucial to winning the war. Therefore looking ahead is important in any major decision.
Jesus used life examples to communicate profound concepts—like discipleship. From the start, Jesus looked for men and woman who were willing to give themselves completely for the sake of the Kingdom. They were not necessarily the smartest, most valiant, or best looking people. When we read the Gospels the picture of the first disciples is almost humorous. From tax collectors, fishermen, to women caught in adultery—Jesus called some of the least likely to succeed. Obviously, the Lord did not choose perfect people, because He knew that there weren’t any to be found. Jesus invited ordinary folks to follow him. The majority of the disciples remained faithful, not because of their strength but because Jesus gave them the grace. They saw dark nights, faced many trials, and perhaps felt like walking away—but they remained faithful. Discipleship has not gone out of style. Jesus continues to call us to be His instruments in a world so hungry for truth. Everywhere we look there is bad news. We are asked to spread “Good News”—the fact that we are loved without conditions. Of course we have to hear the Good News for ourselves before we tell anyone else.
That’s where we separate the wishy-washy Christians from those who are willing to be true disciples. Are we convinced that God loves us more than we love ourselves? Are we convinced that our sins have been forgiven? If we doubt, then we cannot be true disciples. Sit down first and calculate the cost or see if you have enough troops to beat the enemy. That’s what Jesus is talking about in the Gospel. True discipleship comes at a high price. Because Jesus wants us all or nothing. The competition is overwhelming—the devil is hitting us with all the weapons of deception.
Our job—our vocation is to stand firm. That means trust. Here’s the challenge: “anyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple.” Translated into modern language: “Anyone who is not willing to give up control and to trust me, cannot be my disciples.” Fill in the blank for the word “possessions”—anything that dominates our life—the cell phone. (Some folks cannot live without their cell phones. They get the “shakes if they loose it or if is taken away.) Whatever occupies our thoughts or has become addictive—Facebook, the new car—the bank account. Basically Jesus is asking us to trust Him and Him alone. Perhaps we will fail and things might not turn out as we planned—but we will come out winners—just like the first disciples. Nothing should stand in the way of our total commitment to God. If there is something or someone in the way, we must get rid of it. We waste a lot of energy over stuff that is not important. Imagine how different our world would be if we paid as much attention to Jesus Christ as we do to our possessions.
He is calling. He invites us. Be warned: Being a disciple of Jesus Christ is never easy.