This blog has been percolating for some time. It was originally going to look much different than how it turned out. Funny how God sometimes has different ideas on situations than we do. If we wait long enough, perhaps what we think we hear can change dramatically.
The story begins with an encounter in my backyard with one of our fellow residents of our little plot in Kelowna, BC. We seem to be sharing the place with a family of tiny frogs. Friendly bunch who often let us know how happy they are with our regular watering of their neighbourhood. We are often greeted with their musical expressions of joy. Solos, duets and even trios as they express their delight in the creation that surrounds them. The little folks are quite fearless in hanging around close to our back door, garden hose and other nooks and crannys. Almost like our extended family.
On this particular day, my eye caught some rapid movement in one of the climbing vines. At first I didn’t know what it was until I got closer and realized one of the frogs had decided to attempt to make a rather large butterfly his next meal. Never mind the butterfly was twice his size. The frog didn’t know or didn’t care about his apparent limitations. I was tempted to name the frog David.
The insight and revelation soon followed as I began to reflect on these words of Jesus of Nazareth:
“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? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’ “Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace.“ Luke 14:28-32
I felt inspired to write about the need to be wise and realistic when making big decisions. All about counting the cost. The blog seemed to be writing itself. Those of you who have had inspired moments know what I mean.
Unfortunately (or fortunately as it would turn out) my busy schedule prevented me from writing and all I could do was meditate on what God was trying to communicate and what on earth this titanic struggle could mean. It was then that things took a decidedly different turn. When reading the words of Jesus noted above, I decided to read to the end of the full thought Jesus was expressing (always a good idea) and discovered this:
“In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.” Luke 14:33
…and then the intro to these same passages:
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters–yes, even their own life–such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:26-27
When reading the complete thought of Jesus, could it be that the point of the illustration of building the tower or going to war was completely different than what I originally thought? Perhaps Jesus was saying (paraphrased) “If you are going to follow me, make a sober assessment of the decision and realize that it will cost you everything.” Put another way, “The bar is very high. Make sure you are ready to put everything into your jump.”
My mind shifted back to my brave little frog David. His decision to go after a butterfly instead of a fly (normal lunch) was high risk. Could have cost him his life. Certainly significant embarrassment as he struggled and hung on for dear life. Or maybe the butterfly was strong enough to carry him away to some distant land where the frogs speak another language or aren’t very friendly. Sound familiar?
What are you facing today that if you go after it may cost you everything? Have you sized it up and counted the cost? Once you do and you realize it will cost you everything, remember David the frog.