Pastor's Corner

If we are to have a prosperous earthly life, we then must first learn to count up the full cost of every personal decision that we will make. Failure to do so will often result in conflict and disruption in our lives, if not death. We must take care not to make decisions which will shorten or disrupt our lives. If you are going to make New Year’s resolutions, make good ones. Ones you can accomplish and which will prosper you in life. It is important that we plan our lives as much as possible and not just “stumble” into it having to live with the sometimes, unwanted consequences. We must learn to plan our life’s work and work our life’s plan. We must start in our youth learning the know-how and consequences of living life. We must count the cost of what it will take to try and make it through to three score and ten (Ps 90:10).

A new research was completed at Duke’s school of business concluding that personal decisions lead to more that one million premature deaths annually in the U.S. Personal decision decisions are the leading cause of death in the U.S. When one considers the role of obesity, smoking, unprotected sex, and hypertension, these issues must be thought through thoroughly and evaluated. Given the number of choices we will make in the coming days, we must take a step back and look at the long-term implications of those choices. Such choices are not just limited to unprotected sex but extend to not buckling one’s seat belt before driving.

Younger people are not in the habit of counting up the full cost for living. Many have what may be called the live forever attitude, and as the result, they tend not to focus on what it takes to live a long and prosperous life. For instance, today’s younger generation tend not to plan in the long term, for their later years of maturity. Many do not understand the importance and value of creating a savings account for a rainy day, so to speak. They don’t believe they will get old if they live and if they live to get old they must have financial means to make a living. They fail to understand that you cannot work all of your life, simple because your body won’t let you. There is a lack of planning for these later years or retirement.

The down fall of many individuals attempting to “make it good” in life is the fact that they have yet to learn the value of practicing “delayed gratification”. This is not a sexual term, but a term used to denote constantly seeking pleasures without realizing the possible negative consequences which often follow. For example, looking to party and socialize with friends every weekend is the objective after leaving work. The cost of doing this every week will eventually show up in our lack of finances along with a spirit of restlessness, which seemingly cannot be explained. A sense of emptiness eventually will set in and then life becomes boring. Once boredom sets in, we will eventually become anxious to fill such a void. It is then at this point we become susceptible to being used, fooled and abused. All of this simply because one would have failed to sit down and count up the cost of wasting one’s precious time “pleasuring” instead of planning for his/her future.

The questions which should be asked daily by everyone: “How do I get to the future?”, “What do I need to do to get there?”, “When the future becomes the past, will I be ready to face the oncoming future?” and “What can I do to insure that I will arrive at my future, safely?”

Our Lord gives us a very important life principle in parable by which to live. We are not to take this verse out of context dealing with the real cost of following Christ. For which of you intending to build a building without first sitting down and count the cost, checking to see if he has enough money to finish the job. Otherwise, he might complete only the foundation before running out of money. And how everyone will laugh! “See that fellow there?” they would mock, “He started that building and ran out of money before it was finished.... or what king would ever dream of going to war without first sitting down with his counselors and discussing whether his army of 10,000 is strong enough to defeat the 20,000 men who are marching against him? Or yet, while the larger army is a great way off, he sends an ambassador out and desires conditions of peace (Luke 14:28-31).

Our Lord is saying to us we need to count up the cost not only for our own lives but also need to evaluate and weigh the consequences of following Me. Counting the full cost also means asking yourself these questions: “Do I know how to live to the age of 90 years of age?”, “Do I know when to delay gratification for the sake of getting ahead financially?”, “Am I willing to pay the price for living to a comfortable old age?”, “Can I make life worth living for myself?”, “Do I know how not to shorten my life prematurely?” and in the same vein of thinking; “Can I live life without Christ?”, “Is it worth it to not have Christ in my life?”, “Do we know what the cost will be not to have Christ in our lives?”

Life gives us only one chance to get it right. There are no second chances some would like to believe. Do you know where you will spend eternity? Have you truly counted up the full cost?