What king, going out to encounter another king in war, will no sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand?

Luke 14: 31

 

Almost all of life comes with a price tag attached. There is a bar code printed on it that needs to be scanned before we can move on. The question that we must face regards how much currency we have available to us to pay the charge. Life doesn’t take Visa or MasterCard, except maybe in the debit mode, and it doesn’t extend easy payment terms either. Living and breathing and engaging with our world takes what we have and often returns very little change. This is particularly true about following Christ.

 

Christ wants us to be all in when we commit to Him. In essence, He asks of us what He has already given for us. This is not just an ego-centric or a power driven quality that influences the way that God enters into relationship with people; rather, it is something that is essential for our own well being and peace. You see, we will be going out to battle in which the odds are much like those that the king in Jesus’ story was facing. The warfare that is life in this broken wasteland of a world where we live will not grant to us equal odds or an opponent who follows rules of fair play and just treatment. Satan fights dirty. Life cheats. We will be bloodied and battered; our hearts will be broken and our minds will be tortured. Every ounce of cunning, skill, and strength that we possess will be depleted, and our spirits will be drained to the edge of breaking. This is why Christ tells us to be careful and to check our physical, emotional, and spiritual bank balances before we sign on with Him.

 

This all sounds bleak. Why would any rational person agree to all of this? This does not sound like the all loving Jesus who holds little children on His lap and who heals every manner of illness and suffering. Or does it? As He was engaged in these acts of mercy, compassion, and care Jesus was fully aware of where He was going. He knew that the road that He was on would lead to the brutality of rejection and death. He also understood that He was doing all of this in direct response to the Father’s will and that God would be His strength and encouragement in the journey. He knew what the cost would be, and Christ knew that He had to set aside all in order to give all. Now Christ asks us to follow Him. He knows that we must set aside all that we have in every sense of having. For as we do this, He fills us with Himself. The cost that we are required to pay, regardless of how high, is trivial in comparison to what we gain. For, as we surrender ourselves to Christ, He fills us with His wisdom, truth, love, strength, courage, and peace. The very real presence of Christ in our lives transforms our dwelling place into the Kingdom of God.