Summary: Assessing the cost of discipleship come through stories of 1) Construction Discipleship (Luke 14:28–30) 2) Conflict Discipleship (Luke 14:31–32) and 3) Chattel Discipleship (Luke 14:33)
Canada’s first war in more than half a century ended at 11:18 a.m. local time Thursday at a spot about 300 metres away from where the first Canadian combat troops set foot in Kandahar on Jan. 19, 2002. Canadian troops--about 35,000 men and women have deployed to Afghanistan since late 2001--have secured and partly reconstructed several districts in Kandahar. The concrete achievements can be measured in such matters as, education — the number of schools have almost doubled, women are now going to school as opposed to 2001, literacy rates are up; the economy — GDP up; and vaccination rates — up. An independent report from Ottawa’s Rideau Institute has put Canada’s cost at $28.4-billion. The official death toll stands at 157 Canadian soldiers, not counting other collation partners, civilians, injuries and PTSD`s. http://news.nationalpost.com/category/posted/afghanistan/
• That this conflict was and still remains costly is no surprise. The government and soldiers knew it going in, and warned the Canadian public. Even with the estimated cost in dollars and lives, the value of the mission was seen as worth the cost
Jesus warns would be disciples to count the cost first before the commitment. Jesus presents before our eyes the severe requirements of the Christian life. The word here spoken has the purpose of deterring the inconsiderate and leading the light-minded to self-examination. As this instruction has high significance for the beginning, so has it not less for the continuance and completion, of the Christian life. (Lest someone begin the Christian life thinking all the battles are now over, Jesus presents a wake up call). A genuine disciple must be recognized at least by two traits of character: by not beginning before all is maturely weighed, and also, after such a beginning, by not ceasing before all is completely accomplished (Lange, J. P., Schaff, P., van Oosterzee, J. J., & Starbuck, C. C. (2008). A commentary on the Holy Scriptures : Luke (232). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.).
Discipleship is no small thing. Jesus magnifies it when he describes it as undertaking to build no less than a grand tower—not merely an ordinary house or shed. He magnifies it again when he describes it as a great war campaign, fighting a king with an army that is twice the size of our own. The psychology involved is altogether true: an appeal to do great things. To build a Christ-like life is like erecting a mighty tower (positive), also like conquering an enemy who is twice our strength (negative). Such things certainly cannot be done by blindly, inconsiderately rushing in (Lenski, R. C. H. (1961). The Interpretation of St. Luke’s Gospel (787). Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Publishing House.).
In Luke 14:28–32, Jesus gave two examples of what people should consider before joining his band of followers. There is a cost in following Jesus. It is not a joyride, nor is it a passage to health and wealth. Jesus promised his followers a kingdom, but he also said that they would face difficulty and suffering because of their faith. He did not paint an unrealistic picture for his followers (Barton, B. B., Veerman, D., Taylor, L. C., & Osborne, G. R. (1997). Luke. Life application Bible commentary (363). Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers.).
1) Construction Discipleship (Luke 14:28–30)
Luke 14:28-30 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ’This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ (ESV)
Using a rhetorical question, in Luke 14:28, Jesus presents the first of two pictures to illustrate what discipleship should involve: assessing the cost of building a tower before beginning construction. The building in question is a tower (Πύργος or pyrgos) which refers to a watchtower built to guard a vineyard or to protect a house or city (BAGD A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, by W. Bauer, W. F. Arndt, F. W. Gingrich, and F. W. Danker (2d ed.; Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1979).
The direction to “which of you`` (ἐξ ὑμῶν or ex hymōn,) shows that a private tower for a house is in view, not a public tower for a city. Such towers could become quite elaborate and might encompass a barn where produce and tools were located (Jeremias 1963a: 196 n. 19). The reference to the foundation (14:29) suggests a substantial structure. The building would increase security on one’s property.
This is tower building is question is a lofty palace, a sumptuous building, in short, a material erection which requires a more than ordinary development of resources. Here we have the image of seeking after the kingdom of God and of entrance into its discipleship, to which one cannot come without the most strenuous exertion and the most earnest consideration. In a graphic way the Lord sketches the project of the tower-builder. This one has, namely, in the first place, a great plan, which is steadily present to his mind (θέλων). He considers next, not only slightly, but at the fullest leisure, what is required for the carrying out of this plan (καθίσας ψηφίζει). Thirdly, he does not pass to the carrying out of the plan before he has on the ground of this calculation well persuaded himself that he has really τὰ πρὸς ἀπαρτισμόν, that is, that which is necessary for completing it without and within (Lange, J. P., Schaff, P., van Oosterzee, J. J., & Starbuck, C. C. (2008). A commentary on the Holy Scriptures : Luke (231). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.).