Count the Cost
The Sydney Opera House is one of the best-known buildings, recognized around the world as a global symbol of Australia. The construction started in 1959 headed up by a world-class Danish architect. It was originally scheduled to be completed in four years with a budget of AUS $7 million. It ended up taking 14 years to be completed and cost AUS $102 million. The Sydney Opera House could probably be seen as one of the most disastrous construction projects in history not only from the financial point of view but also for the whole management plan. Queen Elizabeth II inaugurated the magnificent structure after 17 years of redesigns, underestimates and cost overruns. The two main stakeholders in the project were the architect and the Australian government. Neither did a responsible job in taking all the factors into account prior to launching into such a huge project. The building was finally completed, but at what cost? Unmet expectations, broken relationships, excessive expenditures, accusations of mismanagement and other elements resulted from the failure to properly lay out an overall plan prior to beginning. The lack of a well thought out, solid foundational approach produced numerous problems that could have been averted with good planning.
Jesus had clear teaching on this matter of measuring the cost, especially as it relates to being his disciple. The criteria that he sets in Luke 14:25-32 leaves no doubt as to how seriously He expected the crowds who followed Him to take the challenge of being his disciple. He talks about how foolish it would be to begin the construction of a building without first determining if you have enough money to complete it. He references a king who discovers that he is going to be greatly outmanned in battle so he seeks peace with his foe. So it is for those who wish to be true disciples of Christ. Evaluate the situation. Consider what the commitment will require of you. There has to be a willingness to give up everything to fully engage as a follower of Jesus.
An important piece of the Christian walk is how we respond to the question of our financial resources. Just as we are required to weigh the price required to be a disciple of Christ, this relationship with Him requires that we make choices about our obedience in the area of giving. You may have heard it said, “God does not need our money, but He does desire our heart.” That is a powerful statement because it is so true. Quality stewardship education teaches us that He is already the owner of everything. He just allows us to shepherd some of his assets during our earthly pilgrimage. Determining in our own mind if we are going to be stingy while spending more on ourselves than we should or generous while living a life with right priorities is a “count the cost” decision that every believer must make. What we do with our wallet speaks volumes about the level of dedication of our heart. This is not a matter to be considered lightly. God wants all of us and that includes our financial resources.
- Why do you think Jesus set the bar so high for those who would follow HIm?
- What does this high standard require of you in the area of giving?
- How does your commitment level need to change?
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