Social media so often is a place of bad news, hurtful words, and time wasting. Yet, I’m convinced God is active in our online world. I’ve met Him in posts on my Facebook feed, tweets, blog posts, and even making suggestions on Amazon.
I recently saw a graphic someone shared titled “Life Verses for every Myers-Briggs Type.” Intrigued, I clicked on the picture to see my life verse. It was: “Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?” (Luke 14:28)
As soon as I read the words, an “ouch” escaped my lips. I know this was meant to be something fun, but the verse was convicting. God spoke straight to my heart through this Facebook post.
I am a project planner and manager by nature and by trade. I plan everything. I have mounds of spreadsheets for budgets, timelines, and task lists. I want to have a full plan laid out before I begin, with an understanding that I have sufficient resources (time, money, skills) to complete the project.
A plan seems essential to reach our goals, yet it doesn’t leave any room for faith.
“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” ~Robert F. Kennedy
Jesus goes on in this passage to explain:
“Simply put, if you’re not willing to take what is dearest to you, whether plans or people, and kiss it goodbye, you can’t be my disciple.” Luke 14:33 (The Message)
We can’t cling to our own plans if we want to truly follow Jesus. We sometimes need to step out against all odds, even when we calculate that failure is likely, in order to follow the dreams God has for our lives.
Hard stuff for a planner like me. Hard stuff for most of us, no matter our Myers-Briggs type.
The risks of following Jesus and stepping out in such faith are huge. Are we ready and willing to take such risks?
Jesus gives us two examples in this passage. One of a man building a tower who wants a plan to make sure he’s able to finish what he’s started.
“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.’” Luke 14:28-30 (NIV)
When we step out in faith to follow a dream God’s laid on our hearts, we want to know we really can achieve that goal and finish what we start. We’re fearful to make that public step forward because we don’t want to be ridiculed if we don’t have enough skills, resources, time, etc. to be successful and complete what we start.
The second example is a king who doesn’t want to step out in faith for fear he’ll fail and lose the battle.
“Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace.” Luke 14:31-32 (NIV)
The risk of failure too often holds us back. We fear the ramifications of failure, so calculate the costs of each step we consider taking.
“To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. To not dare is to lose oneself.” ~Soren Kierkegaard
Jesus concluded these examples by saying:
“In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.” Luke 14:33 (NIV)
If we truly want to follow Jesus, be his disciples, and chase the calling he has for each of us, we have to lay down our plans and our fears to step forward boldly in faith.
Stop counting the costs, and instead imagine the possibilities.
After all, what is the cost of not following Jesus? The cost of playing it safe and sticking to your own plans and resources? The cost of not taking chances to live the life Jesus wants for you, and instead settling for the life that’s known and safe?
“Never let the odds keep you from doing what you know in your heart you were meant to do.” ~H. Jackson Brown, Jr
I love this song, “The Cost” by Rend Collective. This video shows a broader perspective on the cost of following Jesus. A great reminder that maybe the steps we’re being asked to take aren’t so big compared to steps others are already taking.
Have you counted the costs of following where Jesus leads? What about the costs of not following him? Are you ready to let go of your plans and your control and instead step behind Jesus in faith? Let’s walk together where Jesus leads, trusting in his plans, his provision, his timing, and his possible. Are you with me?