Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, “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. So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.
“Salt is good, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is of no use either for the soil or for the manure pile. It is thrown away. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
Comment: This is not the only passage in the gospels about Jesus discussing the requirements to follow him. People don’t like the word ‘hate’ used here in relation to following Him and our caring for our parents wishes. This is a weak example but I can say that I love kids in general, and I do, but my own kids are different! Very different. Compared to my own kids, if it came stressing my love for them I could say ‘I love my kids, and in comparison my love of other kids could be considered as hate’. My commitment to Jesus is to be far beyond my commitment to anything or anyone else, even though I am commanded to obey my parents.
The two examples of counting the cost are simple enough to grasp. I’m committed as a man, to build a house; as a king, to go to war. Counting the cost, am I prepared to go ahead with the project at hand? Jesus wants you to follow, but also to know to what you are committing yourself.
These days our salt is very carefully prepared and purified. Not so back then, it was often mixed with sand etc. Salt is to be the real thing. Following Him is to be the real thing!
Prayer: I have to step out in faith but let my step be with conviction and with whole hearted commitment, even it leads me into unexpected situations.