Luke 14:25-33 (NRSV)
Verse 25Now large crowds were traveling with him; and he turned and said to them, Verse 26"Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. Verse 27Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. Verse 28For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it? Verse 29Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him, Verse 30saying, 'This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.' Verse 31Or what king, going out to wage war against another king, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand? Verse 32If he cannot, then, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for the terms of peace. Verse 33So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions.
Whenever I read these words of Jesus, I feel challenged. I can feel myself squirming as I try to get out of the strong grip of his words. A lot of mental gymnastics have been exercised to escape the implications of that four-letter word hate. In the end, rather than being the "fellow [who] began to build and was not able to finish," I have to sit down and say to myself that I don't think I'm ready to build a tower.
Luckily, Jesus has advice for people like me. So, while I don't have a delegation to send, I do pray and ask God "for the terms of peace." In those moments, I am reminded of the words of Colossians 1:20 — "through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross." It turns out that, while I was busy counting my tower-building costs, God beat me to the punch with One who has already paid the price.
Peacemaking God, in our troubled and calculating world, give us the vision to see that you have already made peace through the blood of your Son, Jesus Christ. Help us remember that before we even thought to act, you had reconciled us to you. Amen.