The dollar is a currency. Each and every country of the world has an accepted currency. A currency has no value in and of itself. It only has value as a group if people (1) recognize, and (2) accept its value. For example, I might have $1,000 U.S. But when I am in Papua New Guinea that money is of little value to the local people because it is not accepted in stores. Because the US dollar cannot be exchanged for food products there, it is of no value. It only becomes valuable when exchanged into the local currency, the PNG Kina (used in Papua New Guinea).
That is a roundabout way to introduce the fact that in life we have access to many currencies. A currency is anything we have that can be exchanged in order to receive something. A company will set a price for products they wish to sell. When purchasing an item the customer wants to know the cost because they are aware of the fact that they must give something in exchange for the item in question.
When we budget we tend to have tunnel vision. We think of cost only in terms of dollars. We do not account for all the other currencies. But, things we get have other costs too – convenience, time, anxiety, and worry. I could buy a pair of scissors to cut my grass, but the convenience and time exchange would not make the product worth my few dollars. Instead, it might be better to spend more money and get a convenience and time saver.
Sure, I might be able to make a little extra money this year by lying to you about my product. What that transaction costs me was the currency of integrity. There should not be circumstances where your beliefs are exchanged to get something. You integrity should always remain intact when you want to get something. Always choose to pay the currency of money over and above the currency of integrity.
The NIV subtitle above Luke 14:25 says “The Cost of Following Jesus”. So if I want to follow Jesus I just need to find out how much he charges? Would 10 silver coins be sufficient? Immediately, it becomes obvious when Jesus is speaking of cost that he is referring to a currency other than money.
“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? (Luke 14:28 NIV)
What does it cost to follow Jesus?
There may be a relational cost – family, friends, people you work with.
There may be a thinking cost – what you think is best, what you can do, how you think about others.
There may be a commitment cost – to family, church, job, plans, others.
There may be an action cost – how you pray, give, serve.
There may be a belief cost – what you believe about God, his purposes, his ways, your relationship to him.
What are some of the ‘currencies’ in your life that you will not sell for money? What currencies do you value more than you value money?