Will that be cash or credit?
How many times have you been asked that question? At its core, you are being asked whether you can afford what you are buying now or not. Are you paying cash and settling the bill today? Are you putting it on credit, in the hope of being able to pay the bill later? Don’t get me wrong, I use plastic too. However, there are many other decisions in life that are important enough that we should “pay cash” for them. Listen to what Jesus said,
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. — Luke 14:31-32
What king goes to war without first having counted the cost? Why engage the enemy if you do not know you could win? Sports teams have a schedule and do not have choices. But kings? They could negotiate. They could opt out. They could fight and become the laughing-stock of the continent.
Jesus expressed this parable to help us realize that when we choose to do something…anything…we should take careful steps. Let’s walk through 3 careful steps together
Ability. Before you engage the enemy or take on that project, get a sense of your ability to finish. I have been awful over the years to get psyched to start a home project, go buy all the materials, and then not get to it for months. Then the lumber has bowed and warped to the point I have to buy new when i finally get to the actual doing of the project. Maybe you want to accomplish a project but just do not have the physical ability to do so. Overestimating your ability causes frustration and fatigue and likely ends in failure. Be accurate. Evaluate your ability to finish something before you start.
Call. Before a king goes to war he must have a sense that God is calling him to do so. Whether it is a new job, getting married, college, or having a baby, we must have a sense of God’s call on our lives. Just because I want to do something does not make it mine to do. Even though I have the ability, do I have a call? David wanted to build the temple. He had the ability. He would have seen it through. But God said it was not for him to do. Humbling ourselves before God and accepting what His plan is for our lives is a critical part of maturity.
Finance. Before a king goes to war he needs to be able to finance that war. I believe that if God calls you to something He will finance it also. However, this is not just about having enough money. When God enables you and calls you to a person, project, or purpose He will likely challenge you in your finances. We all spend money on things we do not need. The issue is not guilt. The question is whether or not God is leading you to rearrange your expenses in order to make room for the next spiritual adventure.
Education, marriage, parenting, house-hunting, or building that addition on the back of your house all need to be taken seriously. Just because the clock is ticking or you get an itch to do something does not mean to jump in without thinking it through. How many times, myself included, have you said in the middle or afterward, “I didn’t think that would happen.”? These 3 careful steps will help to insure that you are on God’s path and not your own.