Being in one of the most bio-diverse regions on the planet and equally diverse when it comes to people and culture, I’m often fascinated by the many ways an idea or even a saying can be conveyed. Here in Ecuador, there are a myriad of ways to ask another person how much something costs. For example:
¿Cuánto cuesta? = How Much is it?
¿Cuanto vale esto? = What’s its value?
¿Que valor tiene? = What does it have?
¿Cuál es el precio de esto? = What is the price of this?
¿Cuánto son? = How much are they?
This represents a short list of the most common ways to ask how much something costs. I’m sure there are others. If you know of any others in Spanish, leave them in the comment section.
Jesus, in addressing a large crowd, said
“For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? “Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ “Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and consider whether he is strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand? “Or else, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. “So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.” Luke 14:28-33
The idea of “cost” here in the Greek (ψηφίζω/pséphizó), is to reckon, compute, or calculate. One thing in this passage that strikes me. Jesus doesn’t ask us to ask Him what it will cost to follow him. He already said what it would cost. Nor is it a negotiation or a bargaining scenario. There are no deals to be made, no concessions or compromising, no haggling, and certainly nothing close to the question, “What’s in it for me?”
As often as we hear the phrase, “the cost of discipleship,” you’d think that we would know what Jesus meant by His words. When we beckon others to follow Christ, when we preach the Gospel of the King and His Kingdom, when we act as His emissaries ambassadors, and representatives, are we devaluing it all in such a way as to have people come to the conclusions that 1.”it’s not worth it,” or 2.”there’s nothing in it for me,” or maybe even 3.”What you’re selling looks like a cheap knock-off.”
A few questions:
What does it mean to you that we should count the cost?
What are some common ways whereby the King & His Kingdom are cheapened?
How would you counsel someone who does understand, counts the cost, and decides it too high a price to pay?