"For which of you, aiming to build a tower, does not first sit down, estimate the cost, and see whether you have enough money to finish? … Or what king, going to war, will not first consider whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the enemy who has twenty? If he cannot… he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace." - Luke 14:27-32
Sometimes it seems as if Jesus doesn't really want people to follow him. ‘Not so fast!" he discourages them here. "First consider well if you have what it takes."
Which rules out most of us. At least it rules me out. I've never had sufficient funds for building towers. After every head count of my troops, I send that delegation.
So to whom should people like me go? People who, after serious consideration, know we really don't have the chops to follow Jesus? Not to the Devil, surely?
No, we go to the only one we can go to. We go to Jesus anyway, with our empty wallets, surrender flags, and vacillating hearts. We go to him anyway, because the high-bar Jesus is the same Jesus who always ends up taking pretty much anybody he can get.
We go to him anyway, because he's shown us again and again that if he's a sucker for anything, it's for the unready and undersupplied who make it plain by our threadbare lives just how much we need the Mercy in order to do mercy, how much we need the Love to be loving, how much we need the Passion to lay our bodies on the line.
Warn me off all you want, good Jesus: by your grace, I'm coming anyway.
Mary Luti is a long time seminary educator and pastor, author of Teresa of Avila’s Way and numerous articles, and founding member of The Daughters of Abraham, a national network of interfaith women’s book groups.