THE PARABLE OF THE TOWER
The parable of the Tower and the parable of the King are recorded in Luke 14:28-32. Both of these parables show the importance of “counting the cost.” Verses 28-30 records the parable of the Tower which we will consider. Here is the parable:
For which of you, intending to build a tower, setteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, saying, this man began to build, and was not able to finish.
Luke 14:25 indicates that Jesus was very popular with the people at this point in his ministry. It points out that there was a great multitude with Him. It was at this point, that he presented some terms of true discipleship. Verse 26 says, “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” This verse does not mean that we are to literally hate our relatives. The word hate in this verse is used in a comparative sense. It means “love less than.” It is also used in this sense in Genesis 29:30-31 where Jacob’s feelings for Rachel and Leah are discussed. The idea is that we must not love our father, mother, wife, etc. more than Christ. Matthew 10:37 says, “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me . . . ” Further, in the context of our parable, Jesus said, (vs. 27) “and whoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.” No doubt, many people felt that this teaching was very hard and drastic. They might have imagined that following Christ would be much easier. Thus, Jesus presented parables about counting the cost.
In the parable, Jesus spoke of the wisdom of counting the cost before building a tower. Jesus pointed out that if anyone is going to build a tower he would need to determine ahead of time if he has sufficient funds to finish. If not, he may not be able to finish his tower. Then, as Jesus pointed out, others will come along and ridicule him.
Most have seen houses or building that have stood for many months or years in a partially completed state. Sometimes, only the foundation has been constructed. I recall having seen a large hotel in northeast Alabama which was only partially completed, and it appeared to have been that way for quite some time. There might be various reasons for a structure not having been completed. No doubt, some are not completed simply because the builder did not COUNT THE COST. Thus, such a structure would stand as a monument for a lack of wisdom and forethought.
A person who is considering becoming a child of God certainly needs to count the cost ahead of time, and this seems to be the main point of the parable. The life of a Christian will not always be easy, and there will be sacrifices which will have to be made. II Timothy 3:12 says, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” In John 14:20 Jesus said, ” . . . The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you . . . ” Regardless of what happens, we must always put Jesus first (Mt. 6:33). After presenting the two parables, Jesus said in verse 33, “So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.” We must be willing to deny ourselves. Matthew 16:24 says, ” . . . If any man will come after me let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me.“
Many do not count the cost before they become Christians. They may become like the people represented by the stony soil in the parable of the Sower (Mt. 13). These people received the word with joy but only endured for a time. As verse 21 says, ” . . . for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.”
The impression must not be left that the Christian life is not a happy life. The child of God is the only one who can have real happiness. He can have happiness both on earth, and in the afterlife. Even amidst difficult times the child of God can be happy. I Peter 4:14 informs us, “If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye. . . .”
Thus, a person must count the cost. It must understood that the life of a Christian is to involve self-denial and following God’s Word. There may be tribulations and persecutions. A Christian should be determined to remain faithful, no matter what.