Jesus, in Luke 14, asked the gathered crowd; 'For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him, saying, “This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.”'
From the international news this week, it will be interesting to see what the cost of President Trump stalling his acceptance of the increasingly clear outcome of the American election will be. There will be a massive cost in legal fees, perhaps a cost to the USA in delaying further an effective Covid response. There is a cost to the international reputation of the USA as dictators and despots around the globe smirk at this train-wreck called democracy.
I have given testimony in a sermon about the cost of following a call to ministry on a family. Jesus' talk about hating family members to follow him may be strong language, but to be sure sometimes it felt like that.
This week there is a lot of hand-wringing about the (once again) on-fire property market in New Zealand and it's acceleration of the gap between the haves and the have nots and the sheer affordability of accommodation for young families and others . Neither established political party has done anything of substance about this in my memory, preferring to uphold the vested interests of themselves and the status quo of the stable, property-owning electorate. There is, and will continue to be a cost to this in child-poverty, transience and fractured communities.
The Greek word dapánē, translated cost, occurs only in Luke 14 in the New Testament. Its origin meaning contains elements and hints of devour or consume. Significant commitment to a course of action (or sometimes inaction) will consume our time, resources and life energy. So a good question to ask is 'What tower are we building? And for whom?'
The faith community is God's building, God's DIY project. It is an enormous privilege and joy to be part of that, whatever plank, nail or other fixture we contribute to. Grace and peace.