In Luke 14:25-33, Jesus is encouraging his followers to count the great personal cost it will take for each of them to truly be his disciple. He is trying to explain that in the very near future he is going to be crucified and in order for them to follow him to his death, they must be willing to die themselves. They would have to forsake everything (including family) in order to make this type of commitment to Jesus.
In order to get his point across, He uses two incredible examples that show how planning ahead of time can lead to a successful outcome.
Count the Cost Through Planning Ahead
The example I would like to focus on is about a person who wants to build a tower. Jesus says in verses 28-30,
“For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish – lest, after he has laid the 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.’”
Finishing. We all want to finish what we start. There is great personal value that is gained in seeing something through to the end. Finishing is huge. But we don’t start at the finish…we start at the start; and the start can be a very confusing place to be. There are many scary questions at the start. Can I do this? Where do I begin? What will other people think? (That one can absolutely paralyze you!) Do I have the knowledge needed for this? Who out there can help me? What if I mess something up?
Blueprints. To help deal with the paralyzing fear these questions present, it helps to have a blueprint. Blueprints come in all shapes and sizes. They could be in the form of a recipe for your favorite dinner, a marathon-training schedule, plans for the construction of a new house, or the steps to put together the plastic slide your toddler received for Christmas.
Blueprints are designed to give us direction. They help us see the big picture while still focusing on the small details. They subconsciously speak to us saying “Hey, someone’s already done this. They already figured out that bolt A goes into slot B. Follow the plan I am showing you and you too will have success.”
Ignoring Financial Blueprints
Interestingly enough, we tend to avoid the need for a quality blueprint when it comes to our finances. The reason for this may lie in the type of answers to the questions I mentioned above. When we ask those questions to ourselves with our finances in mind, we don’t like the answers that we get.
“I’ve never been good at handling money.”
“I wouldn’t even know where to start.”
“My friends are going to laugh at me if I get too focused on a money plan.”
“I don’t know what a good investment is.”
“This advice on CNBC sounds good but it’s different than what I read online.”
“I’m doing OK as it is anyway.”
So based on these answers, we think the cost of the process will be too great or painful, we never start a financial plan, and therefore, are never able to gain any traction in building our financial tower.
The cost for the disciples was great. Their commitment to Jesus would ultimately cost them their lives. That’s why Jesus challenged them to evaluate the circumstances and plan ahead for some scary situations. Building wealth isn’t much different (accept for hopefully the costing-you-your-life part). There will be scary situations, it is challenging at times, and your relationships might experience some short or long term pain. But you can’t finish well unless you start, and you really can’t start unless you have a blueprint to give you direction and peace of mind.
What excuses or fears have kept you from dealing with a money related issue?
Prior Post: Core Concept #2: Giving Is Part of Our Nature