Counting the Cost

I’m re-reading a childhood favourite of mine right now; Pilgrim’s Progress. If you haven’t read it, I’d highly recommend it (the modern English version which is free on Kindle right now or if you prefer print no doubt Colin can find you a copy). At one time it was the most read Christian book after the Bible because it paints such an imaginative picture of the Christian life as a journey full of adventure and threat. At the start of Christian’s journey one of his neighbours decides to journey with him excited about all the benefits but as soon as he finds himself struggling through a bog he quits for home, muddy and ashamed. The treasure was not worth the trouble.
One of the saddest things for me over the past few years of building church in the community has been the number of people just like Christian’s neighbour. Their initial discovery of faith with all its sparks and late night discussions quickly fades the moment it gets difficult or boring. This caught me by surprise but recently I realised we weren’t doing something that Jesus did which was to make clear the cost. He was clear that this new life would take top priority, that there was nothing out of bounds, that it would involve suffering and that there would be no looking back and one time explicitly stated that only an idiot would start a project without costing it first (Luke 14:25-34). Suffering, obstacles and sacrifice are all to be expected when we follow Jesus, it shouldn’t take us by surprise or be seen as the exception but it is the way of the cross as we head towards resurrection. We need to remember this daily and also be upfront when we’re welcoming someone to this glorious adventure; there’ll be struggles but it’ll be worth it.
Dave Lowrie