February 28, 2011 – Luke 14

Click here to read Luke 14 on BibleGateway.com

You’re in for a special treat today, my friends. We get to have a real life illustration from good ole US history about today’s passage. I bet you can hardly wait.

In Luke 14: 28-30, Jesus tells the story of a man building a tower. Jesus warns that anyone who starts a project like that should make sure they have enough funds on hand to finish, otherwise they might only finish half of it and leave a concrete testament to their gooberiety.

Never would happen you say? There’s always bank loans and what not to finish? Oh, how wrong you be.

THE IDEA

Fast forward to the 1960s. There was a famous televangelist based in Akron, Ohio named Rex Humbard. He was arguably the first of the crew of televised preachers that would gain prominence in the 70s and 80s, and he ended up being quite successful, with broadcasts on over 600 stations worldwide.

However, in the mid-60s, he decided that what his ministry really needed was a tall rotating tower with a restaurant on the top. We can all agree how important that might be to reaching the world for Christ (in seriousness, the tower would double as a broadcasting antenna, so it wasn’t completely bogus).

The tower was supposed to be 720 feet high, but when they got to 560 feet, several events conspired against the ministry. In the first place, there was a chance to expand the radio broadcast into South America, and the leaders wondered if that might be a better investment than the buffet-o-rama (ya think?). Secondly, and less inspiringly, the SEC began to investigate the ministry for fund-raising improprieties, namely selling bonds in the ministry without going through licensed brokers (gotta love those fun-loving SEC guys).

CAN YOU FINISH WHAT YOU START?

So, regardless if you prefer the positive or negative reasons, the tower was left unfinished. For years it sat as a reminder of what happens when ministries lose their focus. In the end, the tower was sold to another ministry, then resold several times until today it servers as a cell tower.

Jesus calls us to count the cost before we embark on our Christian walk. Yes, He promises to walk with us through it all, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be tough times. Sometimes the price of following Jesus is very high, maybe even your life. He calls us to carefully consider what we are signing up for before we claim to be His disciple, lest his followers look like goobers to the rest of the world.

Are you counting the cost today?

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One Response
  1. Matt K says:

    I liked this one – made me think of a lot of the ministries in the 70’s and 80’s, like the Bakers and Jimmy Swaggert that were nothing more than cults of personality. If the point of the ministry is to spread the Gospel, than pride shouldn’t have any place in it. Paraphrasing one of the prayers of St. Francis “that I may be forgotten, and You glorified”.

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