Count the Cost

Free Bible Study Materials for Christian Discipleship
 October 2015

Dear fellow disciple-maker,

We must learn to count the cost because following Jesus may involve hardships. We must realize this upfront. Jesus wants his followers to endure and refuse to quit when the going gets tough. To illustrate this important principle, Jesus describes a business man and a king (Luke 14:28-32).

photo courtesy of borman818

 A Business Man and a King

In the first example Jesus states the obvious. There is a financial cost associated with any business decision.  A business man would never start a building project unless he was sure he had the money to finish the job. To begin and not finish would be shortsighted and bring ridicule from others.

The second example is about a king going to war. A wise king would size up the military strength of his enemy before the war begins. If a king was so outnumbered that there is no way to win, the solution would be to negotiate a peace treaty. A king would never start a war that he knew he could not win.

photo courtesy of Si B

1968 Olympics

In the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, a marathon runner from Tanzania, entered the stadium more than one hour after the winner had crossed the finish line. Evening was setting in and the stadium was practically empty. But suddenly, a reporter looked up and said, "Hey, it’s the last runner in the marathon."

With a bloody and bandaged leg, and wincing with pain at every step, John Stephen Akhwari entered the stadium for the final lap. As he made his way around the track, the cheering grew louder and louder. He was running so slow, it seemed to last forever, but finally he hobbled across the finish line and the crowd roared as if he had been the winner.

Sent to Finish the Race

Afterward, he was asked why he endured the pain and why, since there was no chance of winning, didn't he simply retire from the race. Akhwari seemed perplexed at the question. Then he simply replied, "I don't think you understand. My country did not send me to Mexico City to start the race. They sent me to finish it."

Only God knows what he will require of us in the future. We can face the uncertainty of tomorrow because the one who calls us is faithful. God never changes. Jesus is the same yesterday and today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). He will never leave us or forsake us. God's promises inspire confidence and enable us to remain faithful to the end. Jesus didn't call us to start the Christian life – he called us to finish it.  

Author:Paul Schlieker

Permission to reprint this page in its totality is granted.
For any reuse or distribution of Count the cost or any of our Free Bible Study Materials, author credit and web address is required.

Please email us with questions or comments. 

Return from Count the Cost
to Free Bible Study Materials for Christian Discipleship

Home - Bible Study Lesson Plans