Prayer: O Jesus, help me to persevere until the finish line.
Imagination: (Picture Jesus teaching the crowds.)
Jesus is dealing here with enthusiastic disciples who cannot see the tremendous hardships involved in discipleship. So, Jesus gives two examples entailing great difficulties. A farmer needs a tower for his grain, but the extensive foundation is costly. A king must wage war but he has fewer soldiers than the other king.
Jesus’ kingdom involves tribulation. The disciple might turn away and lose the kingdom. Jesus uses these stories to insure the disciple’s firm determination.
Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)
Which of you thinks of building a tower and does not sit down first and reckon the necessary costs to see if he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, after laying the foundation, he cannot complete it and all laugh at him, saying, “This man began to build and was not able to finish.”
Or, what king about to go to war with another king, does not first sit down and think whether he is able, with ten thousand men, to meet with a king having twenty thousand? Otherwise, while he is still far off, he will send a delegation seeking the conditions of peace.
Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you.)
- Jesus says that both the farmer and the king must “sit down”. Their decision is momentous and cannot be rushed into.
- Their present situation (outside of the Kingdom) is not good. However, their second state (abandoning discipleship) would be even worse.
- Jesus invites all to discipleship. He wants maturity, and determination, not surrender to circumstances.
- The farmer has to find more resources. The king must find more men.
- The disciples’ commitment must be complete, total, creative and persevering. More than any other, this parable unveils the cost and sacrifice of discipleship.
Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)
- O Lord, I have been a superficial disciple, unaware of what is involved.
- Let me sit down and reconsider the depth of my commitment.
- Jesus, no longer will I leave my spiritual tasks unfinished and my spiritual wars unfought.
- I will rise up from my table of prayer with renewed commitment.
- You will join me and say, “Let us begin again.”
Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)
- I will see clearly my failures in being a disciple.
- I will ask for unbounded hope that I can complete the tasks.
Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)
The farmer and the king had to sit down.