Author: Ron Graham
Jesus once asked a crowd he was preaching to, "Which one of you, wishing to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost, to see if he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, everybody who sees it will begin to ridicule him saying, 'This man began to build and was not able to finish!'" (Luke 14:27-30).
Jesus wants us to evaluate both sides of the spiritual ledger and "count the cost" of both the commitment necessary to follow him, and the loss suffered if we refuse to follow him.
Jesus asked a make-you-think question, "What shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world yet forfeit his soul? For what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" (Mark 8:36-37). There are other related things to which we may ascribe a spiritual value. Let us now think about some of these things and "count the cost".
Think of everything you give to God in every way. Paul speaks highly of the churches in Macedonia who, although they were in "deep poverty" they "first gave themselves to the Lord..." and Paul regards that offering and total commitment as abundant "wealth" (2Corinthians 8:1-5).
One of our most valuable assets is the earthly tabernacle in which we dwell while on earth. Any sensible person "nourishes and cherishes" his or her body (Ephesians 5:29). Yet many people are not sensible and subject their bodies to damage by immorality, substance abuse, reckless behaviour, and so forth. They never "count the cost" until it is too late. Each of us should listen to Paul:
"Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body" (1Corinthians 6:19-20).
God has purchased us with the death of his Son Jesus. Have you ever counted that cost? When you do, there’s only one reasonable response. Paul puts it very well:
"I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service" (Romans 12:1-2).
We often hear it said that God has given everyone an equal amount of time. This of course isn't really true. Although we all live by 24-hour days, many of us find large amounts of our time are not at our disposal, but are taken up by duties, obligations, and problems. Often these are not of our own making, and are simply our lot in life.
Most of us, however, have a certain amount of time which we can choose to use in almost any way we please. This time is as valuable as the best possible use you can put it to. Time spent in prayer, time spent with your Bible, time spent spreading the gospel, time spent helping the needy... Have you counted the cost of doing something frivolous with time that could be spent in those fruitful ways? Most people waste much precious time in fruitless things.
"Walk circumspectly, not as unwise men but as wise, redeeming the time because the days are evil" (Ephesians 5:15-16).
The time we redeem for spiritual things helps us to gain eternal life. There was a man who, when I was young, used to walk the streets of Melbourne chalking the word Eternity on the footpaths. It was the word he chose --and chose well-- to make people think. How much time will you spend in eternity with God? There are only two answers. It’s either absolutely none, or its absolutely endless time. How valuable is that? Have you counted the cost of losing it?
As a Christian, you can look forward to "an inheritance imperishable and undefiled that will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you" (1Peter 1:3-9). Jesus said, "Lay up for yourselves treasure in heaven" (Matthew 6:19-20).
Have you "counted the cost" of laying up for yourself this inheritance in heaven? Have you counted the cost, on the other side of the ledger, of not doing so? How much is it worth --this opportunity to dwell in heaven with God for ever?
Peter speaks of the faith he shares with others as "a like precious faith" (2Peter 1:1 KJV). Have you counted the value of that faith? How does God value that faith in you? When that faith was in Abraham, "God counted it to him as righteousness" (Galatians 3:6-7, Romans 4:3, Genesis 15:6). If we have a like faith, then God will count our faith as righteousness too.
Think about that. To be "counted worthy of the of the kingdom of God" (2Thessalonians 1:5) not because we ourselves are worthy, but because our faith in Christ enables us to be counted as so. Is there anything else in the universe more valuable than the thing which makes you accepted with God? Gain this faith and don't lose it. You can possess nothing more precious than this.
Peter speaks of "the precious blood of Jesus, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless" (1Peter 1:19). Peter here refers to the value of Christ’s blood as a sacrifice for sins. It was a sufficient sacrifice to atone for the sins of the whole world (1John 2:2).
Look down at the foot of the cross. There you see blood spilt upon the ground. It can purchase redemption for you. Or you can turn away and leave it wasted as far as you are concerned. Which will it be? Have you "counted the cost"?