Count the Cost

In Luke 14 Jesus lays out the terms of discipleship. There were great crowds following Him. Everyone loved the miracles, healing, and free food. So Jesus explained more about what it takes to be one of His followers. He warned them  that they needed to count the cost. I’m sure they wondered what he meant by “counting the cost.” Let me share a story that helped me understand what Jesus meant.

Former Northsider, Dr. Jack Hudkins, invited me to go on a medical mission trip to Guatemala and serve as a chaplain. He explained that a Church of Christ organization operates a clinic there and sends different medical teams throughout the year. Jack explained that the chaplain does a morning and evening devo for the staff and works with a translator throughout the day to pray with patients and families coming for surgery. He told me the food was really good, and that if Cindy came with me we would get a room in the air-conditioned cabin. It sounded like a good experience to us, so we signed up. I didn’t ask any other questions.

Soon I began getting forms to sign and instructions from Health Talents International, the organizers. I got a bill for the trip fee, and a bill for the plane tickets. I got a list of vaccinations that we would need. I got a list of conduct rules and dress code required of the team while in Guatemala. I got a notice from the State Department that travel in Guatemala is potentially dangerous. We went to the doctor for hepatitis shots and were told they probably weren’t covered by insurance. We went to the pharmacy to pick up our pills for malaria and typhoid and paid a fairly hefty price for some more “not covered by insurance” medicine.

Understand I’m not complaining about any of this. None of the costs have made us question our decision to go on the trip. Each new “cost” just made us think, “Well, we didn’t see that one coming…”  At every step of this adventure we learned a little more about “the cost.” We committed to the journey and still believe it will be well worth it.

When Jesus warned his fans that day he said some shocking things about the potential cost of following Him. It might cost you your     family. It’s like taking up your cross. It’s like going to war. It might cost you everything. When we commit to follow Him, we don’t get an itemized list of future “costs.” We simply acknowledge that we’re willing to pay them – because it will be well worth it!

(Note:  Mindy Eck is going with the team as a nurse. We leave on August 3 for a week in Guatemala. We’d appreciate your putting us and the whole team on your prayer lists.)