In Luke 14:26–33, our Lord isn’t referring to a cost we need to plan for; he’s referring to a cost he planned for, for our sake. What did it cost Jesus to redeem the world? Thirty years in Nazareth; three years of popularity, scandal, and hatred; the deep, unfathomable agony in Gethsemane; and, finally, the onslaught at Calvary—the pivot upon which the whole of time and eternity turns. Jesus Christ planned for this cost, so that in the final reckoning no one could say of him, “This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish” (v. 30).

Have you anticipated the cost of discipleship? Jesus states the cost clearly: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother … such a person cannot be my disciple” (v. 26). The only people the Lord will use in his mighty building projects are those who have been entirely remade by him: men and women who love him personally, passionately, and devotedly, above any of their closest family or friends on earth. His conditions are stern, but they are glorious.

Everything we build will be inspected by God. Will he find that we have built something of our own on the foundation of Jesus, something for our selfish gain? These are days of tremendous enterprises, days when many people are striving mightily to work for God—and therein lies the trap. We can never work for God. We can only give ourselves to Jesus and let him take us over for his work. We have no right to dictate to our Lord where we will be placed or what we will do.

Wisdom from Oswald

Re-state to yourself what you believe, then do away with as much of it as possible, and get back to the bedrock of the Cross of Christ.  My Utmost for His Highest, November 25, 848 R