One thing I like most about Oswald Chambers is that he shows me how often I put myself into the Scripture as the principle person when it isn’t about me at all. The words may sound like Jesus is talking to me or about me, and I relish that designation, but Chambers turns my understanding on its ear and I realize how self-centered I really am.
Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:25–33)
Chambers begins his thoughts on this passage with: “Our Lord refers not to a cost we have to count, but to a cost which He has counted.”
He did say, “which of you . . . .” but the big picture shows the obvious; none of us know anything about counting the cost. It is Jesus who paid the price, counted the cost, and no one is going to mock Him and say, “This man began to build, and was not able to finish.”
Not only that, as He builds His kingdom, Jesus will use people that He has brought to a complete and total devotion to Himself. He says, “If any man come to Me, and hate not . . . , he cannot be My disciple.”
Jesus said He would build His church; the bricks and mortar are people who are utterly devoted to Him. He cannot use me if I am preoccupied with other things and other people.
Chambers’ thoughts remind me how the Bible says we plant and water but God produces the growth. Our works will be tested by fire to reveal what has been built on the foundation of Jesus Christ. Yet as Chambers says, technically we do not work for God. Jesus moved into my life and claims it for His purposes. He is building His church according to His blueprint and plans. I’m not the builder or even the foreman on the job. Unless He grabs hold of me and makes me a brick, or trains me and makes me a brick-layer, I’m useless to this tower He constructs.
I’ve no claim to myself. Having counted the cost to Himself, He left heaven and came to earth to seek and save the lost and make of us a church, a kingdom, a people devoted to Him. I cannot dictate to Him what I shall be, become, do, or not do. He puts me where He wills because He counted the cost and paid the price. He will finish what He started. The tower will be completed, just as the war will be won.