Count The Costs

 

calculatorThis is something that is part of my job very often. If an inspection comes back with needed repairs, the buyers are trying to count the costs of repair. They will often ask the seller to contribute to the costs of repair because they didn’t see these issues when first looking at the home.  An inspector discovers rotten wood, issues in the crawl space or attic and these are often important issues to be fixed.

I made a decision at a very young age to follow Jesus and I’m still deciding to follow Him even today. I don’t believe that you make a decision to follow Him and then never revisit that decision. As I’ve grown in my faith, I discover more areas of my heart that have not been surrendered to Him. Jesus taught about counting the cost to a large crowd. I’m pretty sure the crowd got a bit smaller after His words about the cost of following Him. Check this out…..

25 A large crowd was following Jesus. He turned around and said to them, 26 “If you want to be my disciple, you must, by comparison, hate everyone else—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. 27 And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple.

28 “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? 29 Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you. 30 They would say, ‘There’s the person who started that building and couldn’t afford to finish it!’ (Luke 14:25-30 NLT)

At first glance, this seems like an impossible teaching. Other places in scripture, we are taught NOT to hate one another, but to love one another. Jesus uses very strong language to speak about commitment to Him. I believe, He’s NOT asking me to hate my wife, children, mom, dad or anyone. He’s telling me that I must love Him first and I must love Him more than any other human on the planet. My goal for many years has been to expand my love for the Lord and expand my love for my family. I have learned that there is a lot of room to grow in this area. I believe that my love for my family and other is deeper and more expansive BECAUSE of my profound love for the Lord. I’ve learned to love from following the Lord.  He didn’t teach me to hate. He did teach me about commitment and responsibility.

I have counted the costs of following Jesus and it’s a no-brainer. The rewards for following Him far outweigh the costs. He also promises eternal life which is a promise in a league of its own.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Head Count

I remember in my days as a student pastor going on ski trips, retreats or simply bowling. I would take 35 or 40 kids on a trip. As a precautionary method of not leaving someone, I would give each of the students a number. When we would stop to eat, once we got back on the bus or in the vans, we would proceed with count off. It worked pretty good to keep me from leaving a kid behind at Taco Bell while we hit the road.

The book of Numbers starts right out of the gate counting people. The Lord gives Moses instructions at Mt. Sinai to count all the fighting men, 20 years of age or older. It’s been about just over 2 years since the Israelites crossed the Red Sea. Moses appoints a lead counter from each tribe. This was definitely a “manual count” method. Check this out…

45 All the Israelites twenty years old or more who were able to serve in Israel’s army were counted according to their families. 46 The total number was 603,550.

47 The ancestral tribe of the Levites, however, was not counted along with the others. 48 The Lord had said to Moses: 49 ‘You must not count the tribe of Levi or include them in the census of the other Israelites. 50 Instead, appoint the Levites to be in charge of the tabernacle of the covenant law – over all its furnishings and everything belonging to it. They are to carry the tabernacle and all its furnishings; they are to take care of it and camp round it. (Numbers 1:45-50 NIV)

It sort of blows my mind that the number of people had gotten so large. When they left Egypt their number was significant. Here they are camped at Mt. Sinai and there are over a half million men 20 years and older. This number doesn’t count the Levites which would could assume was average to the other clans. This doesn’t account for the kids under age 20 or the wives of these men. There were probably well over 1.5 million people in this community. Moses had a formidable task to get them moving forward or simply doing anything. It helps me keep the journey of wandering through the desert for the next 38 years in a different perspective.

I believe that the Lord is interested in numbers. He counted the people because the people counted to Him. I think sometimes it’s a wise practice to stop and count the cost of what I’m doing. There are times when I didn’t count the cost at the beginning; I end up cutting my losses. I think it’s wise to do the math at the beginning of a project as well as during the project and then at the end. A good CPA told me that numbers don’t lie – they just are what they are. I think it’s wise to keep count of my family, my friends, my money and my time. I have responsibility in all these areas so I should take my influence and management of these areas more seriously. I need to know just how valuable and important these areas are to me, but I also need to know how important I am to all of the areas of my life.

Pressing On!

Dwayne