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What Does It Mean to Count the Cost?

September 10, 2022

What Does It Mean to Count the Cost?

What Does It Mean to Count the Cost?

By Brooke Holt

“Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:27-33

Most of you are probably quite familiar with home renovation shows. Viewers sit back and watch as the home renovating couples come into a house with significant challenges. The renovators meet with the owners, listen to their hopes and dreams for the home, then put together a plan that typically surpasses those hopes and dreams. They provide a way for dreams to become a reality.

There is only one big catch—there is often a hefty price tag to realizing this dream home. Granted, budgets are discussed in the initial meetings, but it is interesting how often the renovators’ plans stretch that budget. You want the dream; you will have to make sacrifices. The couple must count the cost, determine if they can swing the investment, and decide whether to push forward with the project or scale back.

As Jesus is talking to his disciples and potential disciples, he is telling them what it will cost to follow him. It will not be easy and will involve much sacrifice and work. Jesus is not looking for half-hearted disciples, for he knows they will scatter with the upcoming challenges. Jesus is quite upfront on the cost: “Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple” (verse 27). As he spoke these words, Jesus had not been crucified. It is likely his listeners were perplexed by this statement.

Jesus knew what was ahead of him, while those following him would not receive his warnings of his upcoming crucifixion. They had not truly counted the cost but would certainly have to do it soon after Jesus spoke these words. They, too, would suffer tremendously in sharing the Gospel message of Jesus Christ, but they did not face the challenges alone. As Jesus promised, he sent the Holy Spirit to equip and empower them to fulfill the mission.

Jesus would still have you count the cost of following him. It is not for the faint of heart. Yet, you also have a helper in the Holy Spirit. Without that helper, you will not follow, obey, or bear fruit for his kingdom. Jesus calls you to count the cost, but remember, his provision is perfect. You will be called to give up many things, but you will receive everything you need for life and godliness in this world and eternal glory in the world to come.


Are there things Jesus would have you renounce to be his disciple? Have you truly counted the cost of following him? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Recommended Resource:

The Spirit-Filled Life

Jesus calls the Holy Spirit a "gift" who will guide us, lead us, and empower us. Yet many believers don't experience the power and presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives. This unique Christian small group Bible study provides a space in which we can explore what it truly means to "walk in the Spirit" on a daily basis. The Spirit-Filled Life small group curriculum centers on a 6-part video teaching series examining the life-giving and creative work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Begin to experience the gift today!

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