Counting the Cost

My last post was about the different pressures we face in this world. I talked about peer, corporate, political and societal pressure. All real, for sure. I talked about being able to stand against the pressure and how we cannot do it well in our own strength. But there is another part to this equation: when we stand against this pressure, there is going to be a cost, and it is something you have to consider.

Let’s take peer pressure. If you don’t go along with your friends when they choose to do something wrong, you will pay a price. Perhaps, they will snub you for a day or they might call you names. They could drop you as a friend if you won’t go along with them. You could pay a small cost or an even larger cost for doing the right thing.

Think about corporate pressure. If the corporation chooses to do something that you believe is morally or ethically wrong and you choose not to do it, you may pay a very high price indeed. You could be blackballed, fired or overlooked for promotions for the foreseeable future.

What about political pressure? Let’s say your party decides to promote something that you believe is morally or ethically wrong. If you won’t go along with them, again, you may pay a very high price. You may lose funding in the next election or you may lose their support and even their nomination for your position.

Let’s think about societal pressure. You hold a state or national office and the winds of change are blowing and not in a good direction. You are facing pressure to cave into what the mob wants and you know it is wrong. If you stand up for what is right, you many be voted out of office in the next election. You will certainly be vilified by many and your life will probably be threatened by a few if not many…not a pretty picture.

No matter what type of pressure we are facing; if we decide we are not going to go along with it and will have to take a stand, there will be a cost to pay. It may be slight or it may be something life-altering, such as a loss of a job or profession. We would be well advised to consider the cost of the actions we plan to take. We must not be foolish or naive and think that just because we chose to do the right thing, there will be no cost to pay. There will always be a cost.

Even Jesus, told those who wanted to be his disciples, to consider the cost they would pay before they decided to follow him. In Luke 14: 28-33, He talks about a man who wants to build a tower and how he must consider the cost of building it and having the resources to finish the job. He then uses another example: He talks about a king going to war and how the king must consider the forces he has to use to fight the battle and if he has the ability to win.

When taking a stand against the crowd, against the pressure, there are easy answers and there are right answers but there are no cost-free answers. No matter what we decide, we must always count the cost, pray for wisdom and move in the direction we believe to be right.

Strategic

lion-4098784_640Image by Christine Englehardt. Courtesy of Pixabay.

Historic: The twentieth century was a historic time. After WWI, the geopolitical landscape of the world changed dramatically. For centuries, the Ottoman Empire ruled most the Middle East. Following their defeat, its empire was then ruled by the British. In 1917, Czarist Russia became engulfed in a civil war that ended when the Communists gained control. Sweeping changes again happened after WWII. The Middle East was parceled up into different countries. Chinese culture was upended after their Revolution when the Communists took power. Africa moved from a continent ruled by colonialism to one whose countries were ruled by self-determination. In the 1940’s and 50’s, the Soviet Union began to occupy its neighboring countries. This went on for decades until near the end of the century it broke up and those countries were liberated. Just a cursory glance at world history during those one hundred years show the epic changes that happened on the geopolitical landscape.

Prophetic: From a prophetic standpoint, the single most important event happened in 1948 when Israel became a nation. With its rebirth, the prophetic clock began ticking. Fast forward seventy years and we see political entities lining up in a way that resembles Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 38 and 39. Add to that the increase of major earthquakes, the moral breakdown of societies, the epic rise of conflicts between nations and ethnic groups and you have a scenario for the birth pangs of Matthew 24. One’s vision does not have to be 20/20 in order to see that we could definitely be living in prophetic times.

Strategic: So what do we do when we believe we are living in historic and prophetic times? How can we make the most of our gifts and talents in order to make a difference in the world we live in? We must learn to think strategically. We must take stock of what we have and pray about how we can best use those resources for the Kingdom of God. Then we can strategically aim our lives towards that eternal goal.