Count On It
by Jenny Wheeler
“But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it?” Luke 14:28 (NLT)
This powerful go-to verse has been with me all of my life and has truthfully driven many of my decisions. We certainly heard it a lot during our church planting interviews, evaluations, boot camp, and launch process. As a pastor’s wife for 15 years and church planter for the past six, counting the cost comes easily for me.
Let’s face it, we don’t do this for the paycheck, the fame, or because we have nothing better to do. So we learn early on to count the cost, and, before long, we’re counting it all.
Counting the losses we’ve endured.
Counting the pennies in our bank account.
Counting the people we thought were with us for the long haul but left.
Counting the hours until we can get a few moments alone to rest.
Counting the empty seats every Sunday.
Counting the times we’ve had to say no to vacation yet again.
Counting the weeks that have gone by with no new visitors.
Counting the offering, hoping we can finally get paid.
Losing count of the tears we’ve cried, feeling like our efforts are in vain.
I’m pretty good at counting, y’all – good at counting the losses and heartbreaks, and keen to count the sacrifices required to birth something from nothing.
If I count too much my spirit gets discouraged, causing me to wonder why we were crazy enough to do this church planting thing in the first place.
However, the past few weeks God has been challenging me to see this verse differently. And here’s what He whispered to my weary soul:
“Because you serve Me, you also get the joy of counting the rewards.”
Oh how patient He is with me, teaching me how to count all over again!!
Count the lives that have been changed, including my own.
Count the prayers He’s answered.
Count the lessons you’ve learned. Even the hard ones? Yes, those too.
Count the miracles you’ve seen.
Count the people who have stayed.
Count the ones who sowed for a season and got you here.
Count the losses as gains because He who called you is faithful.
Count your blessings, and don’t even try to name them one-by-one, because you’ll never be able to count that high.
When we count the cost but neglect to count the reward, we come up empty. But, if we count the many things God has done and will do because of our obedience and surrendered lives, we’ll find that it’s always worth it.
And we can always count on Him. He’s the true reward.
Insecurities, exhaustion, weariness, financial lack, those who walk away, or any other factor may attempt to count us out. But He has counted us worth the risk. He has counted us worth the cost. The glorious reward of being His will always add up to more than whatever we must give up.
You can count on it.
Through poetry, blogging, songwriting and worship leading, Jenny Wheeler has spent nearly 40 years expressing God’s love using the power of words.
In 2010, she and husband, Chad, embarked on a journey after 15 years of youth and worship pastoring to start a new church in Charlotte, NC. REACH Church is a relational and discipleship based church where Jenny serves as Worship Director and speaks on occasion.
In addition to serving at REACH, Jenny is a full time administrative assistant and continues to write and release music as well.