Counting the Cost (A Sermon on Luke 14:25-33)

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“Now giant crowds have been touring with him; and he turned and mentioned to them,

“Whoever involves me and doesn’t hate father and mom, spouse and youngsters, brothers and sisters, sure, and even life itself, can’t be my disciple. Whoever doesn’t carry the cross and comply with me can’t be my disciple.

For which of you, intending to construct a tower, doesn’t first sit down and estimate the fee, to see whether or not he has sufficient to finish it? Otherwise, when he has laid a basis and isn’t capable of end, all who see it’ll start to ridicule him, saying, ‘This fellow started to construct and was not capable of end.’

Or what king, going out to wage warfare towards one other king, is not going to sit down first and think about whether or not he’s in a position with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes towards him with twenty thousand? If he can’t, then, whereas the opposite remains to be far-off, he sends a delegation and asks for the phrases of peace. So subsequently, none of you possibly can turn out to be my disciple if you don’t hand over all of your possessions.” (Luke 14:28-33)

I wish to start right this moment by sharing with you one thing that occurred to me yesterday that made fairly an affect on me.

I used to be sitting at house, attempting to make a begin on this sermon really, when Imogen got here in by way of the again door and informed me that there was a younger woman wandering across the avenue close to the entrance of our home and that she appeared to be having an episode of some variety. I ran out on to the road and could not see her. Imogen indicated that she had been with a girl who was attempting to assist her and that they’d each been transferring in direction of the underside of the road.

As I made my manner down the road a automobile pulled up close to me and somebody cried out, “are you in search of the little woman?” and I mentioned “sure”. I used to be then directed down Charlecot Street, which leads into the High School, the place I discovered the woman with two relatively distressed girls who have been doing their finest to assist.

The woman was a bit youthful than my Fran – most likely round 8 or 9 years previous – and he or she was clearly struggling. Whether she was having ‘an episode’ or not was onerous to say. She wasn’t talking, and her eyes weren’t partaking with something specifically, as far as I might inform. She was although pushing the lady who was standing together with her in a really specific course, with each arms outstretched, as if she had someplace that she wanted to go urgently.

I had thought I’d recognise the woman and know the mother and father, however I did not. She had a center Eastern complexion however bore no apparent resemblance to anybody I knew. I attempted to interact her by asking her title and whether or not she went to highschool however she did not appear to have the ability to talk. She simply saved pushing.

We had rung the police they usually have been apparently coming. One of the useful girls had one way or the other additionally managed to contact the mother and father, who have been apparently additionally coming. We made it out to Marrickville street the place we have been joined by a distressed man who mentioned that he’d been attempting to succeed in me by knocking on the previous rectory door. I took that as a fantastic praise – that somebody thought I used to be the individual to assist – however thought it equally apparent that I did not actually have a clue what to do.

At that time a swarthy-skinned younger man got here working down the road and cried “Mariam! There you’re!”

This man was clearly not her father, however then, straight away, all of the items fell into place in my little mind. This woman was a shopper of the disability-services group who use our corridor on a Saturday. She had been of their care, and the younger man did certainly develop into certainly one of her carers. He was quickly joined by one other carer (a younger lady) and collectively they took Mariam again to the corridor.

The 4 of us who have been left as Mariam departed shared an ungainly second collectively. We kind of waved one another off, not realizing precisely what to say. I then joined the three returning to the corridor and mentioned with the employees the issue they’ve of not with the ability to lock the doorways from the within (because of the fire-safety laws), that means that purchasers can stroll out at any time they please if they don’t seem to be being continuously monitored. “We solely took our eyes off her for a few seconds” they mentioned.

By the time we obtained again to the corridor, Mariam’s mother and father have been ready for us. They appeared very younger, they usually have been each fairly emotional. I did not dangle round too lengthy after that. I returned house to proceed on with this sermon, however I discovered it very tough to deal with something past the picture of that poor younger woman, desperately attempting to get someplace, however fairly most likely not having a clue as to the place she was really going.

It struck me forcefully on the time that so many people are like that a lot of the time. We put huge focus, drive and energy into initiatives which can be prone to take us someplace, we all know not the place, and once we get there, we’re left questioning why it was that we needed a lot to go there within the first place.

The poor woman impacted me, as did the hapless carers (of which I used to be one). All of us – each volunteers and professionals – appeared out of our depth with younger Mariam. At the identical time, there was lots of love and concern proven there, and collectively we did obtain one thing constructive, and that was actually encouraging.

The ones who impacted me probably the most although have been the younger woman’s mother and father. I’m positive this was not the primary time they’d needed to cope with an issue like this and it could seemingly not be the final time. Moreover, I think that the stress of this specific incident would have paled compared with any variety of different struggles they’ve needed to cope with as mother and father of a disabled little one.

I do not know how they do it – God bless them. I’ve struggled onerous sufficient, attempting to be an honest father or mother to blessedly wholesome and totally abled youngsters.

‘Count the fee’, says Jesus. ‘Know what you are getting your self into earlier than you’re taking it on!’

“For which of you, intending to construct a tower, doesn’t first sit down and estimate the fee, to see whether or not he has sufficient to finish it?…

Or what king, going out to wage warfare towards one other king, is not going to sit down first and think about whether or not he’s in a position with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes towards him with twenty thousand? (Luke 14:28, 31)

And which father or mother amongst you, earlier than you resolve to have youngsters, would not first sit down and soberly discuss issues by way of with their companion – figuring out whether or not you’re going to have the monetary and emotional sources to do an honest job as mother and father?

Of course, Jesus would not actually use the instance of parenthood, maybe as a result of He by no means parented anybody Himself, although I do not assume you really must be a father or mother to know the way onerous parenting is. If you are not a father or mother, you’ve got seemingly had mother and father, and we all know what we put our mother and father by way of.

For me, in all honesty, it has been probably the most tough problem of my life – attempting to be an excellent father to my youngsters. I really feel like I lastly began to get the dangle of it the fourth time spherical, however I nonetheless wouldn’t class myself as a fantastic father or mother.

I wrestle. I’m usually too possessive, too protecting, too disengaged, or in any other case, too overly-engaged. I do not spend sufficient time with my youngsters or I do not give them sufficient freedom to develop independently. I’m generally overly aggressive or pathetically weak. There’s a steadiness in there someplace however I wrestle to search out it, and I do know I’m not the one one who struggles.

Parenting is tough, and it prices us, although Jesus warns us that there’s at the very least one vocation in life that prices us much more than parenting, and that is following Him.

“None of you possibly can turn out to be my disciple if you don’t hand over all of your possessions” (Luke 14:33),

It’s not simply cash within the financial institution that Jesus is speaking about. When you learn by way of the complete itinerary that Jesus provides us in Luke chapter 14, the trade-off for a lifetime of discipleship is that it may take from us in all of the three areas which can be most vital to us – our households, our possessions, and our well being.

“Whoever involves me and doesn’t hate father and mom, spouse and youngsters, brothers and sisters, sure, and even life itself, can’t be my disciple. Whoever doesn’t carry the cross and comply with me can’t be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26-27)

‘Following me goes to price you every thing’, Jesus warns us. You can pay for it with your loved ones, your wealth and your well being, and that is why we should sit down soberly and assume issues by way of first, earlier than we get in too far, as a result of we must be trustworthy and ask ourselves whether or not that is actually the kind of life we wish.

In fact, none of us try this as a result of none of us actually sees on the outset the place following Jesus goes to take us!

Parenthood works precisely the identical manner, after all. We would possibly say, ‘sure, I perceive that being a mum or dad brings heartache and sleepless nights, and so forth., and so forth.’, however none of us actually has any concept what we’re getting ourselves into till it’s manner too late!

Thanks be to God, I’ve by no means misplaced any of my youngsters (which signifies that I’ve been extra lucky that some pricey buddies of mine). Even so, I’ve come shut, and nothing has so harassed me, and the nightmares nonetheless generally torment me.

And then there’s the instances when my youngsters have not been speaking to me – for good motive or for unhealthy. Alienation and ache and communication breakdown and misunderstanding are all part of the bundle, and I will not go into particulars concerning the private lives of my youngsters, however I’ll say that I had no concept on the outset what I used to be getting myself into.

Following Jesus has been, in that respect, an nearly similar expertise. I had completely no concept what I used to be getting myself into.

How might I’ve identified, after I made my preliminary dedication to Jesus, some forty years in the past, that it could price me all that it has.

When I consider all of the individuals Jesus introduced into my life who robbed me, betrayed me, manipulated me, and put my household in danger.

When I consider all of the locations Jesus has led me – into drug homes and warfare zones and a number of boxing rings full of individuals tyring to punch my head in.

When I consider all of the instances I’ve nearly been killed – by mobs or by drowning or by bombs or bullets – or the instances I’ve felt that it could be higher to die and be at peace, relatively than must proceed struggling…

How can what you’re getting your self into? How are you able to probably know any of this once you’re a teen? How are you able to probably look forward at the remainder of your life and see all of the poverty and ache and the scars and bruises?

Well… I suppose we’ve got no excuse as a result of Jesus warns us. He warns us fairly explicitly that following Him goes to price us every thing. It’s going to hit us the place we damage – in our our bodies, in our households, and in our hip-pocket.

As you’ll keep in mind from my lengthy opening illustration, I had began penning this sermon earlier than the encounter with younger Mariam yesterday afternoon, and as much as that time I had deliberate to start my sermon, not by speaking about a bit misplaced woman, however by referring to a determine from my childhood that had come to thoughts when studying this passage – particularly, Super Chicken.

I do not know whether or not anyone else listening to this remembers Super Chicken, however he was an animated super-hero parody of types from my childhood. Having checked in Wikipedia, there have been seventeen episodes in all, first launched within the US in 1967 and replayed for my profit throughout the early life of my youth.

Super Chicken, like all super-heroes, had a sidekick – Fred – who was a lion. The climax of each episode was at all times the showdown between the hen and the super-villain featured in that episode. Super Chicken would, after all, at all times show victorious, however Fred, his sidekick, at all times appeared to finish up as collateral injury – being struck by lightening or having an anvil dropped on his head and so forth., and at any time when this occurred Super Chicken would say, “you knew the job was harmful once you took it, Fred”.

As I say, Super Chicken got here to thoughts for me this week when studying Luke 14, or relatively that catch-phrase got here to thoughts, and I puzzled if Jesus will ever say that to me – “you knew the job was harmful once you took it, Dave”.

In fact, we do know what we’re getting ourselves into. Jesus warns us that the job is harmful and He urges us to rely the fee earlier than we get in too far. The downside, as I say, is that, like parenthood, you’ve got an idea, of what it is going to be like, however coping with the idea is at all times simpler than coping with the fact.

I do hope that nobody right this moment has heard me say that I’m not eternally grateful for the expertise of being a father or mother. Despite all of the wrestle and the ache, being a dad has been the best privilege of my life. And equally, even when I might have identified all of the beatings and robberies and drownings and betrayals that lay forward after I first gave my life to Jesus, would I nonetheless have made that dedication? Oh yeah! You betcha! Following Jesus has been the nice journey of my life. The price is actual, however the pleasure everlasting.

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