Counting the cost of following Jesus is not always easy. But Jesus makes it very clear that there is a cost to being a disciple:
“If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me.(Matthew 16:24)
“those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.”(Luke 12:33)
How do we follow Jesus in a meaningful, costly way? Self-sacrifice – whatever that entails for each one of us – is not really talked about much, and it can seem a bit old fashioned. But the Apostle Paul wrote to some early Christians:
“You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price.”(1 Cor 6:19)
Following Jesus means we can’t just please ourselves and do our own thing. Here are some questions to help us work out what counting the cost might mean for us.
What example do we set for those who watch our lives and for our children, grandchildren etc..?
People are influenced by us, and children copy us. If they don’t see it costing something, they haven’t got the full gospel. If we don’t prepare those we are leading into the Kingdom by helping them understand that there is a cost, we are setting them up for a fall.
Where is most of our effort and attention directed?
We are not all called to live in a monastery or to be a full-time church leader, but if we are following Jesus surely that must take a significant amount of our time and effort?
What choices are we making?
The Apostle Paul wrote:
“Everything is permissible but not everything is wise.”(1 Cor 10:23)
We can do anything we want. But what are the wise choices for us as a follower of Jesus?
Where are we spending our life resources?
Pursuing what God has called us to may be at the cost of something else, but if we know what we are called to and that we are in the right place, it’s worth it.
Where do we expect to be long term?
How do we shape our lives? What are our long-term goals? On what basis do we make the big decisions in life?
Counting the cost is not a joyless experience. It says of Jesus:
Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame.(Hebrews 12:2)
The cost of following Jesus is off set by the joy of it.
In some countries the cost of following Jesus is much greater.
This video highlights how difficult it is for some people to follow Jesus.
When the price is high, the value is high. Appreciating the high value of what we have, helps us to understand that the cost must be counted.