For today’s Monday Minute, Muriel shares with us what it means to count the cost as we begin to follow Jesus with a missional mindset in the military.
Count the Cost
by Muriel Gregory
My military journey started 26 years ago when I met my husband in Germany. He swept me off my feet, and a new life began for me. I cannot say I considered all that it would mean to be married to a Soldier. I could not have foreseen the places we lived at, the adventures ahead, or the friends we made along the way. Thankfully I could also not anticipate the hardships, the challenging deployments, and the heartbreaks. That’s what happens when you fall in love. You simply follow.
However, I knew for sure that I would have to leave Europe and that we would never be stationed in France, my home country. I could not keep what I always had known and be married to him.
To follow my Soldier meant that I had to leave certain things behind and go where he was.
I made another life-changing decision 25 years ago. I decided to follow Jesus and start on this path of becoming a disciple. It is a process, and I am still learning.
One thing I know is that to make a difference in the world for Jesus. I need to make radical choices.
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 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.’ Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace.”
When he made that statement, he was the talk of the town and popular with the crowds. People loved him because he healed them, fed them, and did miracles. In a way, you could say that they loved the gifts but not the giver because they did not know the giver. So here, Jesus tells them a little bit more about him and his mission. The gift of eternal life is free for the taker (John 3:16), but the transaction also includes a transfer of ownership (Luke 9:23; Galatians 5:24). Basically, if I trust him with my life, it is no longer my own. I belong to him.
Thus, comes the statement:
“So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.”
To renounce does not mean that I need to sell everything and become a missionary in a third world country. No, renounce simply means that my yes to Jesus is a no to the world. Renounce means that I follow his ways, not the latest trend or fad. It invites me to follow the prompts of the Spirit and ignore the cravings of the flesh.
This does not happen overnight.
It is a process. I am still going through the process of figuring all of this out. One thing for sure is the importance of counting the cost. There is a cost to follow Jesus. He is pretty radical in his teachings. But there is also a cost to not follow Jesus. Saying no to the ways of the world is painful, because sometimes as I feel like I am missing out. But I have learned that my saying no is saying yes to something better. After all, Jesus came to give us life and life to the fullest (John 10:10).
This world needs Jesus. People need hope. Hurting souls need to find rest. We have been sent to bring that message. We are the ambassadors of his love. And we can make a difference, and we can have a tremendous impact, but only when we renounce our ways and follow him.
When I consider the eternal benefits, the cost pales in nature.
Reflect: How often does Jesus invite us to pick up our cross and follow him? What are some of the desires of the flesh you may need to crucify?
Respond: The task seems a lot more manageable when I only focus on today. What commitment(s) can you accomplish today to follow Jesus and make an impact on those around you?
Lord, I am forever grateful for the gift of eternal life, and I am humbled that you call me to be on mission with you. I pray that today I will follow you and share your message of love and hope to the ones that will cross my path. Amen.