October 21, 2012

Commitment as a Strong Defense

Luke 14:25-33

“Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money … ?”
—Luke 14:28


A half-completed building project or a foolish battle plan are both bad ideas. A wise person adds up the figures and considers the costs in whatever needs to be done.

Both parables in our reading for today speak about a strategic defense. Towers provided a lookout for watchmen to warn against an approaching enemy. Then the king could rally his troops and defend his territory. Jesus offers a defensive tactic for success in the battles that await kingdom warriors. The strategy is a strong commitment to preparation.

The life of a disciple includes many trials and tests of faithfulness. The enemy confronts us with one obstacle after another. At times we lose heart and are ready to give up. But Jesus discloses the secret of success—a decisive commitment. Our defensive weapon is a commitment to Jesus that is willing to grasp the cross as a prize rather than as a nuisance.

The repeated theme in these verses is whether you are able to carry out a task. Each of us must ask, “Am I able to be his disciple?” This is a serious question. But Christ has won the victory. Because of Jesus, you and I can say, “Yes, I am able. ‘I can do all this through him who gives me strength’” (Philippians 4:13). It takes a radical belief in the power of Christ in us to stand firm and endure.

Lord, help me count the cost and commit to serving you. Please give me the grace to pursue the course you have given me—and in your strength, to prevail. Amen.

About the author — Dean Deppe

Dean Deppe has been a pastor in inner-city, suburban, and rural ­churches. Currently he teaches New Testament theology at Calvin Theological Seminary. His courses include one on the parables of Jesus. He and his wife have four grown children.

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