Counting the Cost

By Cindy Puhek on October 28, 2016

Counting the cost is a Biblical principle.  Jesus told people to count the cost of discipleship like a man counts the cost of building a tower or a King counts the cost of going to war (Luke 14).  

I’ve found that it is wise to count the cost of commitments as well.  Every activity on my family’s schedule comes with a cost.

  The cost comes in many forms.  Sometimes the cost is time.  Sometimes it’s energy.  Sometimes it’s just emotional space.  All of these should be considered and counted carefully.  There have been occasions when I had physical time but not emotional or mental room to take on a project.  Sometimes I was invested emotionally in an activity but the physical time needed to participate was non-existent.

My children are involved in an intense, very worthwhile competition.  They’ve been part of this for years so we have learned what it costs.  Basically, we do NOTHING else during the season of this activity:  no hospitality, very little entertainment, very little free time for anyone in the family because the parents must be deeply involved.  The first couple of years, I really resented this cost and I had a dread of this season for our family because it cost me many things I really enjoyed doing.  But after considering giving up this activity, we counted the costs and decided the benefits far outweigh the sacrifices.  Now there is no resistance or resentment when it’s competition season.  We work and study and practice as a family, and it is beautiful.

Unfortunately, there are times when it is impossible to count the costs.  Lack of knowledge and experience can make it difficult to accurately estimate the price tag.  In these cases, I pray, dedicate the thing to the Lord, and plunge in.  If the cost ends up higher than I can afford to pay, or an unexpected expense of time or energy surprises us, I ask for mercy from those in charge.  Most people have overextended themselves at some point and are very gracious under those circumstance.  

Counting the cost is also a very personal decision, and it’s very dangerous to compare my abilities with others.  Just as different people have different amounts of financial resources, different people also have different mental and emotional capacities as well.  I know people who run what I call a “three ring circle” and do so very well.  They are a blessing to many, and they make their very full lives they live look attractive.  But I know I would go mentally and emotionally numb if I tried to keep their hectic schedule.  I’m a “one ring circus” type of person and part of counting the cost is knowing my own limitations.

Finally, I remember that God has the final word.  There have been times that I determined a price tag for and activity was too high, but God told me to commit to the activity anyway.  God’s grace is sufficient in my weakness.  Where He leads, He enables and I’ve had the joy of seeing miracles when I stepped out in obedience knowing I was inadequate for the job.  Watching God increase my resources is a glorious thing.