Most of us were taught not to start something that we could not finish. Being able to invest the time, resources, and energy necessary to bring a project to completion is part of deciding to undertake the work. Jesus brings this example to light in talking about what it takes to be his disciple. In essence, he says, “Seriously consider whether you are up to the task.” He uses stories of a builder and a king; both stories have the same thrust of meaning: before you start, make sure you can finish.
The decision to follow through entirely on our commitment is essential for the disciple. Walking the way of the Savior will require that we be “all in” and bring to completion what we have started. If we are honest, this is no easy decision. When we read Jesus’ words we wonder if anyone can faithfully follow.
I had a math teacher once who gave us an extremely difficult problem. He instructed us to use all the resources available to solve it. We looked in our books. We consulted one another. No one could do it. Finally he told us that we had not used all the resources available. When we protested that we had, he said, “You did not ask me to help you.” That very room contained all the help we needed.
We may feel inadequate to be disciples. However, the greatest resource for bringing to completion what we have started is Jesus himself. If we will follow wholeheartedly, he will show us the way to follow through. As we count the cost, let us never forget the One whom we can count on the most to see us through to the finish.
God, show me the way to follow through entirely on my commitment to Christ. Amen.
The Gospel lesson stresses the cost of disci- pleship. One of the costs involves family, but the implication is that there are compensations as well as costs. Belonging to God affects the way in which one belongs to others. Traditional pat- terns, kinship and otherwise, are transformed. This insight lies at the heart of Paul’s letter to Philemon concerning Philemon’s slave, Onesimus. Without directly requesting that Philemon set Onesimus free, Paul clearly suggests that the ties that bind per- sons as brothers and sisters in Christ transform traditional social patterns, including slavery. Both Jeremiah 18 and Psalm 139 af rm our belongingness to God, individually and corporately.
• Read Jeremiah 18:1-11. How has the “word of the Lord” come to you? What obstacles prevent you from placing your- self entirely in God’s hands?
• Read Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18. How does your life evidence God’s handiwork?
• Read Philemon 1-21. What person or group needs your advocacy in the name of Christ?
• Read Luke 14:25-33. How have you counted the cost of fol- lowing Jesus?
Responda publicando una oración.