This week a new volunteer came to Scotty’s Castle. He was supposed to come when Tom and I started, but he was delayed for some reason. He came on Wednesday – and left on Thursday. He realized very quickly that the job was more than he was willing or able to do. He had planned to sleep in the back of his truck (like he did when he was 25 – 35 years ago) but realized that our compound is not set up for “roughing it.” Before any of us could say goodbye, he had packed up and gone back home.
Tom and I were amazed: amazed that he was so unprepared for the challenges and amazed that he gave up so quickly. Before we agreed to come to Death Valley we did our research and found out everything we could. So we were prepared for the compound where we stay. We were prepared for the long hours and hard work. We were prepared to not have internet or a cell signal. We were even prepared, as much as you can be, to miss our family and friends in Ohio.
Everything that we do, or say, or buy, or commit to has a cost. If we are thoughtful people who do our research and make proper preparations, we will be ready to fulfill our commitments. It doesn’t matter what it is: marriage, a weekend with friends, a career that requires years of schooling, a volunteer position in Death Valley. We should count the cost and make sure we are prepared to pay before we commit to the adventure.
The Christian life is the same way. We need to count the cost of following Christ. Are we willing to leave behind the things that Christ asks us to leave? Are we willing to live a new life in Christ instead of holding on to the old? Are we willing to be recreated in Christ’s image instead of insisting on our own way?
In Luke 14 Jesus asks us to count the cost of discipleship:
28 “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? 29 For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, 30 saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’ 33 In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.
Are we willing to count the cost and do whatever it takes to follow Jesus?