Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you – Jesus
Luke 14:28-29 NIV
I was recently having coffee with a friend I met about a year ago. We met randomly, just after he had witnessed a tragic car accident and had stayed by the side of a teenage girl whose parents and sister were all killed in the accident. He stood by her and consoled her through several excruciating hours of first responders unpinning her from the car where her families dead bodies were still trapped. It all shook him to his core.
In getting to know each other, he shared that he had walked away from faith as a teenager. He had no interest in the god of his parents and was now on the verge of leaving his wife and kids. Over the last year we have met periodically and I’ve prayed for him to choose a life with Jesus. It’s been a slow go but over our last coffee he shared that he is closer than ever and sees the need for spiritual community.
We often want to see people come immediately into the Kingdom of God. I’ve heard preachers say, “You need to make a decision today! You could leave this place and die in a car accident on the way home. And then you would have missed your chance.” I suppose there is some logic in that if you don’t trust that God is bigger than a car accident.
Based on this passage, Jesus seems to believe he is bigger. In fact, he encourages us to take time to count the cost; to consider our decision soberly. He knows what we often forget – emotions are fickle. It’s not that they are bad. Emotions are amoral – not good or bad. They are what they are; a feeling. And they can change in a matter of seconds.
Jesus never seemed to be in a hurry and he certainly doesn’t hurry us into a life altering commitment.
My friend is coming into the Kingdom slowly. I trust the work of the Spirit to draw him at just the right pace. I’m praying and believing that one day in the not too distant future he will cross the line of faith and be able to say, “I’m all-in” without reservation and no hypocrisy in his heart. Will he still have some doubts along the way, sure. We all do. But because he took the time to weigh his decision and count the cost, those doubts won’t crush him or cause him to run, because he’s already dealt with them.