ODJ: Think It Through

March 8, 2016 

READ: Luke 14:25-33 

If you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple (v.27).

Several days after my wife had open-heart surgery, a friend asked me if there was anything I needed. I jokingly told him that it would be great if he could finish writing an Our Daily Journey devotional for me that was due later that day. My buddy, who happens to be a fellow ODJ author, enthusiastically offered to give me feedback on the piece I was working on—until he remembered that he didn’t actually have the time to do it! His swamped schedule simply had no margin.

My friend’s offer was kind and genuine, but he hadn’t thought through his availability to help me that day.

To think things through is an important part of life, especially when it comes to following Jesus. He told the following story to illustrate just how vital it is to think through the cost of following Him:

“Don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you. They would say, ‘There’s the person who started that building and couldn’t afford to finish it!’ ” (Luke 14:28-30).

There’s nothing more worthy to live for than following Jesus in advancing His kingdom in the here and now. But Jesus also wants us to know that following Him isn’t always easy. It’s risky and sometimes quite costly to do kingdom work.

Do you want to follow Jesus? Think it through! We can’t truly follow Him unless we’re prepared to lose the things we hold most dear for the sake of His kingdom—including our lives (vv.26-27). To think of it, that’s something Jesus did for us!

—Jeff Olson

365-day-plan: Judges 6:1-40

Read Galatians 2:20 and consider how Paul’s words can help you prepare for sacrificial service for Jesus. 
What kingdom work might God be calling you to get involved in that should require you to count the cost? How does Jesus’ example encourage you to move forward?