Counting the Cost

Are you a budgeter with the calendar notebook to prove it? Or, are you a spender with the credit card bill to show for it? I feel some of us know better than others what it means to count the cost. Meticulous calculations result in better preparation for when that bill comes at the end of the month.

But what does Jesus really mean when He says to "count the cost" in Luke 14:28?

The word "count" in this passage comes from the Greek word pséphos, which actually means "a pebble."

What?? You're confused I bet. Me too, until I saw that this word is in reference to how people in the ancient times used to vote- with a pebble. Typically, throwing a white stone would mean "yes" and throwing a black stone would mean "no."

So, I would dare to say that what Jesus is saying is that counting the cost is not sitting down and listing the things we might lose nor marking through the hopes of things we have yet to gain. Rather, it is simply to cast our vote.

Luke 14:33 says, "Those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples."

In response to that, we can choose the white stone or we can choose the black stone. We can say "yes" to whatever we might lose for the confidence of all that we can gain in Christ. Or, we can say "no" and cling to the comforts of this world.


The truth is I often find myself counting the costs one by one rather than simply casting my vote. And, the more I list, the more I want to resist.

When I first began this ministry, I loved to give at every opportunity. I loved to serve at every moment. Now don't get me wrong, I still love both of those things. Yet, as the costs added up while the funds began to go down, my love to give did not look the same. Rather, it created stress and restlessness when it seemed I could not catch up with the medical bills. It began to create fear when I could not fathom how we were to pay the rent for the homes of these families. And, I found myself counting the costs rather than casting my vote.

Many times I have thrown that white stone, "Yes, Lord," I cry. "Whatever it takes I am all in!," I express. But other times I want to throw that black one. I want to tap out, or throw in the towel.

Yet, if I look back over all of the times I voted "yes," I can honestly say I have not lost much in comparison to what I have gained.

I have witnessed the reward of my labor when I see hope arise in the heart of a woman who had once only known hopelessness. I have been afforded the privilege of loving some of the Lord's most precious people in real and raw ways. I get to live amongst another culture with people of another color as if that land was my own. I am able to grow in knowledge and love of the Lord by listening for Him and serving Him with every heartbeat I am given.

Yet, the beauty of it all, is though I sometimes list some of the costs, I will not ever be able to recount the gain. There are many rewards I am experiencing on this side of eternity that outweigh fleeting pleasures, but the greatest of all rewards is still yet to come.

Yes, it is hard. Sometimes you will doubt yourself. But, cast your vote and don't count the costs. Your "yes" will result in the very best. I am certain of it because I am living proof of it.

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