We leave the church building inspired and filled with Truth and encouragement each Sunday … and somewhere along the course of the week, often we find ourselves in need of a little bit of something to help us through.

Welcome to Extra Strength: a mid-week pick-you-up for the soul. Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom for extra encouragement and challenge. 

Extra Strength

 Listen to Love Does: Follow Me {Sunday, November 2, 2014}

By John Worth, Immanuel attendee and blogger

Counting the Cost

When I usually think about counting the cost my natural inclination is to fall back on my finance degree from college. I take a look at an opportunity, and in an analytical way I do some “cost” calculations in my head (and sometimes on a spreadsheet; I am pretty nerdy).

  1. I start with a cost benefit analysis — will the benefit outweigh the cost over the useful life of the thing that I’m spending money/effort/time on?
  2. Next, present value calculation — figuring out what is the price that something is worth today considering the benefit that it will provide over time.
  3. Finally, I look at the budget: time, money, effort, emotional expenditures — will I have room in the budget for this thing? Even great things can’t be done if it can’t fit in the budget.

Jim Elliot Love DoesAfter Jesus turns around and tells the crowds following Him, “If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison” (Luke 14:26) and “carry your own cross and follow me,” He follows it with an equally a bold statement “But don’t begin until you count the cost”.

Here’s what struck me most about Jesus’s words: have I counted the cost in my own life? This is a much bigger question than doing analysis on the cost of say accepting a job offer or buying a house versus renting; it’s a matter of my whole life and, even harder, that of my family. My money, my time, my relationships are all a reflection of what I am giving my life to; they are payments to the cost of what I’m truly following.

Too often in my Christian life I haven’t counted the cost before jumping in and following Jesus and instead have sometimes been faced with the sudden reality that my current “budget” can’t fit what Jesus is asking me to spend. At those times I’ve had a choice; do I walk away like the builder who runs out of money in Luke 14:28-30, or am I so devoted to Christ that I make the hard choice and follow even if it costs me everything I hold dear? I believe that in order to follow Jesus in the way he wants we will ALWAYS have to make really hard choices. Choices between good and best, comfort and uncertainty, staying in the boat or walking on the water. If there aren’t hard choices I am probably missing something.

Currently I am faced with very real choices between doing what is easy and what I believe God has placed on my heart to do = hard. Am I crazy enough or enough of a “fanatic” as Pastor Joe put it to choose the path that will allow me to make the biggest impact on the world? For me the thing I wrote on the card that will cause me to step across the threshold on Sunday was caring for orphans. Specifically in this season of my life it’s looking like it will be in the form of an adoption from Eastern Europe of not just a 2.5 year old but a 13 year old as well.

So back to the original question I’ve been wrestling with: what’s the cost?

Thousands of dollars spent on lawyers, agencies and travel, many hours of paperwork, phone calls and late night discussion, close family relationships strained and feelings hurt, loss of vacation and other job difficulty from weeks of travel required, stomach churning court dates, social worker visits, lawyers, judges, uncertainty, tears, hurt, brokenness, loss….by the way these are only some of the costs we KNOW of that will happen during the next several months, not including the rest of our lives on account of this choice.

I can almost see Jesus turn around, look me in the eyes and ask me, do you want to be my disciple? Do you really want to be my disciple? You know what you will ultimately gain but have you truly counted the cost?

I believe he is asking you those same questions today.

My answer is yes.

What’s yours?

John Worth is director of Immanuel Accelerate, a lifelong attender of Immanuel and husband to Hyacynth. John’s two boys keep him and Hy on their toes most evenings. When he’s not nose deep in spreadsheets at work John enjoys helping others navigate the waters of life.

Be Challenged: 

  • Have you responded with a yes to what God has laid on your heart? Share your yes with family or friends and talk about your next steps.
  • Read the final week in the Love Does study guide and discuss it with your small group.

Go Deeper:

  • Take the next steps in living out your yes!
  • Tell us about it! Email HyacynthWorth{at}gmail{dot}com if you would be willing to share your story.

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