“And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’
Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:27-33
Jesus tells a group of people, before you make the decision to follow me, you better weigh the cost. You should know what you are getting into. Putting it another way, use your head and not just your heart. I can imagine that many people got caught up in the moment when they encountered Jesus. Their hearts were full to overflowing and that often leads to hasty decisions. Don’t get me wrong, we should also engage our hearts along with our minds. However, emotional decision making can lead to trouble and even Jesus remind us to use our heads and not just our hearts.
Now Jesus is not the only one who reminds us think things through. King Solomon also reminds us to use our minds too.
A simple person believes anything, but a prudent person gives thought to their steps. Proverbs 14:15
It is not good to have zeal without knowledge, nor to be hasty and miss the way. Proverbs 19:2
God created us to think…to use our minds. God wants us to dig deeper into things to: form opinions, gain understanding, grasp faith, plan for the future and make the world a better place. We are reminded in scripture to use our heads for all things and not just matters of faith. We have been created with a brain and God wants us to use it! It is not an extraneous organ like an appendix (yes I know it serves a purpose, but as kid teachers told us it didn’t have a use)!
There is an encouragement to dig deeper and that requires to use our minds! When the call committee was interviewing me, they asked for and received lots of information about me. I filled out paperwork (it was like a 30 page questionnaire), gave them my website to review, gave them references to call and they still wanted to meet with me several times to grill me! The call committee had to dig deep to discern if I was the right candidate to Bethel’s next pastor. They did a lot of thinking and discerning before making a decision. What if I told them I wouldn’t give them any paperwork? They wouldn’t have had everything they needed to make a proper evaluation of me (and they would not have put up with a response like that)!
I give thanks that God gave us minds to use. I give thanks for scientists and engineers. I give thanks for accountants and finance people! I give thanks for teachers, professors and pastors! I give thanks for all who use their minds to make the world a better place.
Even when Thomas the disciple who ran off after the crucifixion was using his brain. He knew following Jesus was over. Jesus was dead and people don’t come back from the grave. Even when the other disciples came to tell him that Jesus was alive, Thomas didn’t believe them. (See, he was using his mind.) He told them that he couldn’t take their word for it, Thomas needed to dig deeper. He said, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.”
They convinced Thomas to go with them despite his critical mind (which is a good thing). When Jesus appeared, He wasn’t upset at Thomas. He didn’t say, “You should have believed the disciples when they told you.” Not at all. Instead he invited Thomas closer and said, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Jesus was literally telling Thomas to dig deeper and check it out for himself. Of course, Thomas saw and believed.
Thinking and looking at things more closely is a good thing. Whether it is our finances, our future plans and of course our faith… digging deeper is a faithful action and it is a gift from God.