“Which of you wishing to construct a tower does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if there is enough for its completion?” – words from today’s Gospel. Seems like good, practical advice. Still, it makes me think about several things.
If we wait until everything is perfectly planned before beginning a project, we would never get started. On one hand, one should know about the costs of following Jesus and not just “go along with the crowd”, but on the other hand, we don’t know exactly what “crosses” may be before us.
Maybe planning is not our strength. Can’t we just start and trust it will all work out? The text indicates that you might be mocked. Not much of a suffering. It is exactly the same fate that Jesus suffered before and during his crucifixion. If we are called to “bear a cross” — to face possible death, why should we worry about simple “mocking”? “Being mocking” sounds a lot healthier than dying!
Think about the parish budget. Do we operate on faith, trusting that God will provide the needed funds or do we operate with the best business sense possible. Do we, as accurately as possible, determine next year’s income and create a spending budget no higher than the anticipated revenue? How often does the church appear foolish because they haven’t planned well enough? How often does the church appear foolish because it was too scared to risk and act on faith?
There are a lot of things that we might want to plan perfectly, but we don’t have the skills, foresight, or even grasp all the variables. How many married couples planned the perfect life together and then life unfolded in ways never anticipated?
Planning is prudent. Lack of planning can be disastrous. Perfect planning is beyond us in the things that matter. The Marines understand that all battle plans evaporate upon first contact with the enemy.
I rather like the King marching into battle. He encounters the enemy and adjusts the plan. You get married and spend a life together adjusting the plan. We set a parish budget and adjust the plan. We follow Jesus and make lots of adjustments, large and small, along the way. Sure, we might get mocked and the crosses will never be what we expected. We adjust.
We plan, we risk, we act, we adjust. We follow as best we can.