Counting the Cost (Part 2)
Jesus continued speaking on the importance of counting the cost of discipleship in Luke 14:31-33 - "Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace. So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple."

In addition to His example about building, Jesus proceeds to use another illustration His audience could relate to, though perhaps not personally. Any wise king who is preparing to enter into battle will calculate whether or not he thinks he can win. If he comes to the conclusion that he will probably lose, then the wise thing for him to do is to send a delegation and ask for conditions of peace before the battle ever begins. It would be foolish to enter into battle without planning to win and believing that such can be accomplished.

"So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple" (Luke 14:33). Here is Jesus' conclusion to this subject. If one desires to be a disciple of His, then he must have the willingness to put the Lord and His will before absolutely everything else. Such a one must be willing to "seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness" (Matt. 6:33). He must be willing to suffer the loss of everything temporal in order to gain everlasting life (cf. Phil. 3:7-11). He must understand that all things physical are, in the ultimate sense, rubbish.

On another occasion, Jesus asked the rich young ruler to do this very thing. Sadly, he declined because he loved his wealth more than the Lord. Today Jesus is not saying that in order to be faithful to Him you must give away everything you own (cf. I Tim. 6:17-19). However, He is saying that you should be willing to do such, if necessary (e.g., to help others - Acts 4:34,35). We must be willing to use everything the Lord has given us in His service and not be selfish with anything. We must not let our possessions possess us (cf. I John 2:15-17; II Tim. 4:10)! All we really need in life is a relationship with God, and, if we forsake all that we have, then He will never forsake us (cf. Heb. 13:5)!

Jesus was willing to give all that He had in order to make salvation a possibility for mankind (cf. John 3:16; Rom. 5:8,9). If we are not willing to do the same, then our hope of heaven is a false one (cf. Mark 10:28-31)!

The chapter closes with Jesus sharing some familiar thoughts on salt - "Salt is good; but if the salt has lost its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is neither fit for the land nor for the dunghill, but men throw it out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!" (Luke 14:34,35; cf. Matt. 5:13; Mark 9:50).

Perhaps Jesus mentions salt in this context to emphasize to His disciples what happens when a follower fails to count the cost and allows other things to come between God and himself-namely, he will lose his flavor and become useless. It is impossible to hold on to the things of the world, thus dividing our attention and strength, and still be a genuine disciple of our Lord. No man can have two masters (cf. Matt. 6:24)!

When salt loses its flavor, it becomes worthless. The same is true for the Christian who has lost his "flavor" (i.e., he has failed to persevere; he has stopped "building"). Such a one is a mere professor of discipleship but not a faithful practitioner of it. According to the Lord, he is not fit for the rubbish heap or dunghill!