Luke 14: 25 – 33

This week I have been reflecting on cost.

Weigh up the cost.
Cost conscious.
Cost control.
Carry the cost.
Capital cost.
At all cost.

Cost is what we give up to acquire, accomplish, maintain or produce something. It is often understood as monetary, but this isn’t always so. Something, such as a project or endeavour can cost time. Cost often involves some sacrifice. It can require effort and resources.

The word cost is found only once in the whole of the New Testament (Luke 14:28). In our Gospel text for this week (Luke 14:25-33), Jesus says that without definite decision and total dedication a person cannot be a disciple. He uses strong language to make this point. First, he requires a person to hate— parents, spouse, children and siblings, and “yes, even life itself” (14:26). Second, he commands carrying the cross and following him (14:27). Third, he demands the giving up of all possessions (14:33). Jesus tells the crowd: “for which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost” (14:28). Cost in discipleship is about more than following. It requires total dedication and cannot be done impulsively. One must estimate the cost.

These harsh words can seem far removed from our lives today. Yet, modern psychological research indicates that people often value more the things for which they sacrifice. I have often wondered about this in relation to discipleship. Has discipleship become a little too easy in our current context? How much, in regards to our faith, are we asked to give up or sacrifice?

This text can challenge us to ask tough questions, of ourselves and of others. As disciples, we are called not only to make a choice in whom we follow, but also to act on that choice. Christianity is an embodied faith. Discipleship is not something which is part-time. Its charge goes many steps further than being a responsible person or a good citizen. It requires lives lived out in active love for our neighbour and total commitment to God who is love. 

Yours in Christ, Kathryn