There are costs to following Jesus and excuses for not doing so.
Everything of value costs something.
We can think of endless excuses to procrastinate, obstinate, and prevaricate. We'll do anything but drop whatever we are doing and change directions.
It is a control issue - we want to be in control.
Mostly, we want to add - faith and devotion to whatever else we cling to in life.
But discipleship is not an "add-on" to our lives. It is a new center of existence and a new direction for everything. Everything passes through the filter or this new commitment.
It costs everything.
I was ruminating over all this as I drove to the gym before church one day and I heard the report on NPR that 38 people had died over a given weekend in bombs designed to disrupt the elections in Iraq.
In spite of this, and, by some reports, because of it, record numbers of people came out to vote - defying the threats. Some died.
Later, I heard the Vicar of Baghdad report that the same thing was happening his his church. One year every one of the over 50 people who were baptized died a martyr's death.
Sometimes we have a hard time trying to get people to show up in this country when it costs us nothing.
I wonder - If it is too cheap, do we lose any sense of the value of it?
Jesus predicted that his disciples would be disbursed and would abandon Him after His arrest, but He also predicted that they would learn to find the courage to stand with Him ... later.
Failure is also a high price to pay, but sometimes, it is the cost of moving on.