Which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost? - Luke 14:28. So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions. - Luke 14:33
Counting the cost is important in our commitment to Christ. Several years ago I read an article about the importance of counting the cost before making a major purchase. The advice is particularly appropriate for those of us who tend to overspend. The writer illustrated his point by adding up the actual cost of the gifts listed in the popular song "Twelve Days of Christmas." The result was a lot less romantic than the song itself. All the gifts given in the name of love have their price.

A pear tree was figured at $14, one partridge - $15, two turtle doves - $10, three French hens - $36, four calling birds - $140, five golden rings - $1,000, six geese a-laying - $1,260, and so on. The total tab for all 12 days came to $10,314.92. (And that was not figured at today's prices.)

Let us apply this to the popular objective of weight-loss. Whatever weight-loss plan you choose, you are bound to lose pounds - at least for a while. However, most dieters reach a plateau before they reach their goal, and many get discouraged when the thrill leaves before all the weight does. Many give up and go back to their old ways of eating.

Something similar happens in our Christian lives. When we begin our walk with Jesus, we easily shed many of the sins that have weighed us down. We give dramatic testimonies about being freed from addictive behaviors. Then the attention shifts to another new believer, and we discover that "little" sins like jealousy, resentment, and anger do not drop away as readily as the "big" ones. Some of us get so discouraged that we lose sight of our commitment to Christ and go back to some of our old ways of living. Remember the words of Jesus, "So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions" (Lk 14:33).

When Jesus talked about the cost of being His disciple, He wanted those who heard Him to realize that believing in Him and following Him involve more than starting something that is exciting. They mean sticking with something that is difficult.

So whether we are talking about weight loss or spiritual gain, the message is the same: What matters most is not how we start but how we finish. Perseverance makes the difference between failure and success. Giving your life in service to Christ and others can be very rewarding. But let us remember what Jesus said, being His disciple has its price, and we must carefully count the cost.

Rev'd. Fr. Colin Humes