Pragmatic Faith

Read: Luke 14:28-36

For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost . . . ? (v. 28)

Through the sliding glass door, I could see all three children as they joyfully bounced on the backyard trampoline. Ten, eleven, and twelve years old, their giggles and banter floated musically inside as Mike and I sat at the kitchen table with Ben’s state-appointed attorney. The mood outside of the house definitely did not match the somber mood on the inside.

Two failed adoptions and nine prior homes within three years. This was the end of the road before institutionalization. “What would this kid have to do for you to reject him?” she demanded. “How bad would he have to be before you guys toss him out like other families have done?” The sobering question hung heavy in the air. In other words, were we aware of what we might be getting into? Were we really ready to be his “forever family”?

Our God is, among other attributes, immensely practical. The stories Jesus tells in this passage are meant to impress the pragmatic side of our faith, whether it’s building a tower, fighting a war, making a commitment to Christ, or adopting a child. Jesus exhorts us to think through long-term possibilities, and then make our decisions. In other words: first count the cost!

Mike’s response was measured and thoughtful. “Short of murder—nothing. We are ready to move forward.” We signed her forms. —Tammy DeRuyter

As you pray, ask God to help you realistically count the cost, then boldly live for him!

About the Author

Tammy DeRuyter is a former stockbroker turned student of theology and history. She holds master’s degrees in both from Fuller Theological Seminary and Central Michigan University. Married for more than 25 years to Michael, an ordained RCA pastor, they have three emerging, young adult children ages 20, 21, and 22—the youngest of whom was adopted at 11.