2003-03-20 - Practical Cost Counting
Luke 14:28-35 "For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost, to see if he has enough to complete it? 29 "Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation, and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, 30 saying,' This man began to build and was not able to finish.' 31 "Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and take counsel whether he is strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32 "Or else, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks terms of peace. 33 "So therefore, no one of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions. 34 "Therefore, salt is good; but if even salt has become tasteless, with what will it be seasoned? 35 "It is useless either for the soil or for the manure pile; it is thrown out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear." (NAS)
Sometimes spiritual lessons don't lend themselves to practical examples. In this case, they do.
For the past two nights I have fiddled and fussed over spreadsheets and calculations that will potentially dictate the purchases of server class computer systems and disk array space totalling millions of dollars and impacting the department and the company I work for over the next 12-24 months. The most critical point of it all is once I get my formulas and figures settled I have to be able to present the package to management. It's not the standing in front of people, or the public speaking aspects that are important. The crux of the whole matter is this: Does it work? Do the calculations make sense to justify the dollars?
I think I have mentioned before that the original builders of the obelisk that is the Washington Monument badly miscalculated their costs and possibly mismanaged their funds. The end result was that the structure was only half finished when they literally ran out of money. If you look at the tower you will clearly see a line where there is a definite change in the color of the stonework where the project was interrupted for years. I'm really not sure any of us can imagine the public embarrassment the builders must have suffered. A second group of builders saved the monument and finished it to its current impressive 555 feet.
And how many of us who are parents try to instruct our children in the ideas of saving money and spending it wisely? We try to get them to look forward to other possible costs they may encounter, reminding them of gifts they may need to buy for friends or relatives, planned outings where they may want souvenirs, or saving a little for a rainy day. It is not always easy when that bright, shiny toy or game is right in front of them. But imagine the answer the original builders of the Washington Monument if you were able to ask them how important cost counting can be.
The things of this world were considered forfeit by Paul. They had no hold on him. The rich young ruler turned away from Jesus when Jesus answered him to sell all that he had and give the money to the poor and follow the Lord. I too look at new cars and computers for home and office. It is easy to see the temptation and distress of the young ruler. We are told he had great possessions. They held him back from following the call to follow Jesus. This is the only recorded denial of the call Jesus made to individuals.
But imagine a place where the paving material is gold so pure you can see through it. Think about the mansions that God Almighty has been preparing for all who will call Him Father. And finally imagine the love of God who sent Jesus for us, and of Jesus who died in our place - and the things of this world will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.
Which side is heavier in the balances?
Grace & Peace,