Consider the Cost
For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? (Luke 14:28 KJV)
I was reflecting on a time probably back in the late 70's through 80's, when there was an emphasis placed on the idea of "profit and loss" It is an accounting terminology in the financial sphere of things. This concept was used primarily in business practices, but it transcends the barriers of finances. In the opening scripture Jesus is asking a question about counting or considering the cost and whether it will be sufficient and prove to be profitable unto completion. Another way of stating count the cost is "take an account of" and that makes the statement capable of transcending barriers, and boundaries.
We are daily faced with a barrage of decisions that vie and contend for us to count or consider the cost of our choices, and that the process will entail judgment. Consequently, our decisions can be profitable, or we can or will suffer loss as a result. Of course, we favor what is profitable, and shun what causes loss. The idea for this avenue of thought is to weigh the entire situation, and it is an incentive for balance. The process of profit always yields to be favorable, but loss yields what is unfavorable.
For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his own soul? (Mark 8:36 - KJV)
So we can see the terminologies may have been adopted into the business world, but over two thousands years ago Jesus asked the question of profit and loss regarding the soul of man and woman. Count the cost He said, which transcends boundaries. Is owning what the world has to offer more than your soul? When He distinctly tells us that we cannot serve God and mammon.
To consider the cost we must pause to think the matter through. Counting the cost means that we ask ourselves how much will a decision we are preparing to make cost us? We count the cost materialistically everyday. We must ask ourselves how much will this or that item cost. It is a conscious probe. We perform the task of counting the cost without consciously realizing that we are doing it, why? because we must remain in a financially balanced state and not suffer unnecessary losses at inopportune times. It is the same principle with morals, behaviorisms, character and more that pertain to our souls.
Jesus said, that a good tree bears good fruit, and a bad tree bears bad fruit. If the tree is good and healthy it bears good fruit. What happens to the fruit once it leaves the branches or vine. It is in a perishable state, meaning fruit that is not preserved on the tree and is not eaten by a certain time will become over-ripe and will rot. Fruit should be fresh and edible, and not rotten or there is loss. The good tree is profitable, whereas the bad tree is unprofitable. Good manners, morals, behavior and character are profitable towards conformity into the good image and likeness of God, but bad manners, morals, behavior, and character will cause loss of true character and identity.
The endeavor of assessing the cost in every aspect of our lives entails critique, examination and judgment. We measure ourselves in order to obtain balance. We measure ourselves to the Word and will of God. What is the difference between profit and loss? In one aspect we gain and in the other we lose. Do we always count or consider the cost? Not consciously all the time, but we are learning as we respect the process of changing and yielding to the transformation as a process, and not a done deal. Understanding that sin packed a nasty punch, and placed us on the losing side, but that Jesus has come to show us what abundant life looks like from God's prospective of the spirit, to the soul, and to the flesh is our profit. We were programmed to judge our worth and losses according to the flesh. We must shift our perspectives accordingly.
Money is used as a standard by which success is judged, but true success begins in the spirit realm and that would take the flesh a long time to catch up to because it is still waiting final redemption. The natural man/woman knows profit and loss according to material things. The spirit man/woman knows wealth and abundance that trickles down from the spirit to the soul. We are continuously enriching our thoughts with the prosperous counsels and principles of the Word of God. Our spirits know that if we choose God's will we shall indeed profit, and if we choose our will or the will of any other creature apart from God's we will lose. The spirit knows profit and loss very well and the revenues of a healthy will. I am presently seeking the healing of my will, I desire a will that is athirst for God's will. This endeavor takes being synchronized to the rhythms of heaven where God's Word and His Will are settled forever.
We will inevitably all suffer loss before life is over. Everyday someone does through death and the loss of loved ones. The loss is always great. To never see someone again on this side of the river will take forbearance and endurance to suffer the loss. We can feel the loss no sooner we hear the news. It is at this place of reckoning that we must pause to think as believers of the greater good, and the profit involved as well as the loss. For we know that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. The Apostle Paul asked death this question, death where is your sting, and to the grave he asked where is your victory. In another instance he comforts us with knowing that to live is Christ, but to die is gain. His assessment is favorable and helps us to cast down everything else that seeks to exalt itself against the knowledge we receive of God.
In order to consider the cost we must become accountable. We are all accountants, just not as a career goal which pertains only to finances, but a life goal. We must think outside the box of finances, and mammon; and visit the idea of accountability, which navigates us towards being responsible for our thoughts, intents, motives, desires, and actions every second of the day. Living in an aware and cognizant state that allows us to examine ourselves, and not blame anyone for our losses.
How much will the wrong thinking cost us? How much has it cost us in the past? If we had not been interrupted by God, wrong thinking would have cost us our own soul, in other words we would have lost our souls. Sin used to dictate and were losers all the time, even when we thought we were winning as we gained the whole world, we were losing our souls. But, glory to God, Jesus Christ took sin captive and set us free on Calvary. Now, everyday is profitable regardless of situations, circumstances, activities and all the events of the day, Jesus Christ is Lord period!
The Word of God tells us that people perish for the lack of knowledge. Lack of knowledge is a loss inducing factor. What we don't know can and will harm us. Take every loss you have encountered in this life, and do a study. I guarantee you will deduce that every single one is for the lack of knowledge which led to the losses incurred. Here is grace and mercy......Jesus asking the Father to forgive them, for they know not what they do. Lack of knowledge is ignorance simply put, that enables loss. Those who crucified the Lord suffered loss, not knowing who they were crucifying, (the Lord of Glory). We profit and gain salvation from the crucifixion upon receiving knowledge of why Jesus gave His life. He gave His life for us, we eternally profit by His shed blood.
I had to do some real soul searching, past and present and I have discovered and am discovering that loss only comes or occurs when I don't know, and understand the will of God. This may seem simplistic to you, but every thought that passes through our minds must be tried by the Word and Spirit of God. When He tells us that our ways are not His ways, that His are indeed higher, what we are willing to believe considering what He has said is of the utmost importance. All of our will must be in agreement with His will whether we understand it or not. It is still God working in us both to will and to do what pleases Him.
In today's world or society what is materially profitable is always desired and sought after, and the revenues it will produce, but at what expense? It appears that our souls are in desperate need of the profit and loss setup and how to balance the equations of life which are inherent in all opportunities we encounter.. Yet, the main objective of this ideology is to get rid of what is counted as loss. For instance, the Apostle Paul admonishes and provides us with strong counsel here.
"Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:5 KJV).
He teaches us that losing unprofitable thinking is of the greater good. The loss of thinking that is unprofitable will ultimately be beneficial, but not without cost. What will casting down imaginations, and every high thing cost you and me, in order that we may bring every thought, not just one or two, but every thought that passes through our soul under subjection to what God wills. It will cost us, we will have to take bad and unfavorable thoughts and supersede them with thoughts which lead us to God's will, that is if we value being profitable. The Bible tells us that.....
"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works" (2 Timothy 3:16-17 KJV).
So then, profit and loss is experiential in our walks of faith. We loose bad thinking to obtain what is profitable.
Open our hearts to discern what is profitable according to Your will and when our own will is causing us loss and empower us through Your grace.