9.9.19 Praise & Prayer Prompt: Counting the Costs

PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• The average cost of a skateboard is between $65-170. But for the rest of my life, I’ll see the cost of a skateboard as an astronomical, almost six-figure hospital bill. 

Back in March, my son got a harebrained idea to ride on a skateboard. The result was a badly broken elbow that required trauma surgery… which then led to such a severe complication that my son ended up on life support for a night, the ICU for two, plus a night in the pulmonary wing of the hospital. 

Thankfully, he’s fine now. He still can’t lift as much weight as he needs to and his surgeon has said he likely won’t ever fully straighten his arm again. But he’s breathing. 

There was a significant cost to my son’s choice. Every choice we make requires a cost. The cost may be money, relationships, time. If I go to the store to buy a pair of shoes, when I look at the cost, am I willing to spend the equivalent of X hours I must work to pay for them? If I make the choice to lie to my friend, am I willing to pay the price of her trust? If I goof around instead of getting to my assignment, am I willing to pay the price of stress for my procrastination?

Jesus advised us to count the costs. He used the analogy of building a tower. “For which of you, wanting to build a tower, doesn’t first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it?” (Luke 14:28 CSB). The story is, of course, about far more than construction costs. It’s about the price we pay to follow Him…  and the price we pay when we don’t.

Jesus said that to follow Him, we have to be ready to give up everything for Him. When Jesus told the rich man to sell everything in order to inherit eternal life, it wasn’t because He didn’t want the man to have things… but because the value the man placed on things was higher than Jesus (Luke 18:18-23). 

In Luke 9:23-25, Jesus said, “Then he said to them all, ‘If anyone wants to follow after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of me will save it. For what does it benefit someone if he gains the whole world, and yet loses or forfeits himself?’” (CSB).

As Christians, we will have to make some hard choices as we follow Jesus. And heaven knows our culture is doing all it can to make it harder. After all, if you disagree with someone these days, especially in the name of your faith, you are hated for being a hater. Ironic, isn’t it? That’s a different topic though…

When it comes to being brave enough to carry our cross and counting the costs of following Jesus, I often think of the story of Rachel Scott, the teenage girl who was killed at Columbine 20 years ago. With a gun to her head, she was asked if she believed in God. Even in the horror of the moment, Rachel counted the cost of her life as less than Jesus. After saying yes, she was murdered.

If you and I were in that situation, would we be strong enough to say yes to Jesus? Would we be willing to pay the cost to follow Him? And the hardest question of all—are we willing to pay the cost if we don’t?

Today, as you pray, thank Jesus for being worthy of anything it costs us personally. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you count the costs and to always choose Jesus… to always count the cost and choose to obey Him.

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