What Man Desiring to Build...?
In Luke 14 Jesus spoke of a man desiring to build and a king desiring to wage war. He likened those situations of counting the cost to that serious deliberation to be undertaken by prospective disciples to His cause. Were they prepared to give up all to follow?
G. Campbell Morgan in his exposition says the following:
When Charles Haddon Spurgeon issued a magazine, he called it, The Sword and Trowel. What made Spurgeon call the magazine that? He selected the title from the story of Nehemiah. But no one supposes that he named a Christian magazine because of the story only, save as he recognized its profounder significance. Nehemiah, and the men who built the walls of the city did so with the sword in one hand, and the trowel in the other. Thus our Lord's illustrations harmonized with the revealed activities of God.
Look again at that interested crowd, attracted, inclined towards Him. He turned and gave them the terms of discipleship, and I believe that He saw on the faces of that crowd revelations of its thinking. The thinking of the crowd was the thinking of the human heart, the thinking of my heart. They looked at Him, as though they would say, But why make Thy terms so severe. We are all interested, we are all attracted, we are all ready to make Thee King if Thou wilt only consent in a certain way. We would like to be enrolled.
Seeing that look, and knowing the human heart, He said in effect: I will tell you why My terms are severe. I am in the world for building and for battle. I want men and women who will stand by Me until the building is done, and the battle won. Jesus is far more concerned with quality than with quantity. If the Church of God could only discover that lesson today, what a sifting there would be in church rolls. How soon we should be cleansed from our unholy boasting that we have a large membership. The story of Gideon is still applicable. God can do more with three hundred men that lap, than with thirty-two thousand of a mixed multitude. The Lord needs men He can depend upon to stand by Him, laying brick on brick, though the bullets fly, until He has won His war, and built His city. That is why His terms are severe.
All this He finally emphasized by another "therefore."
"Salt therefore is good."
He changed His figure of speech, returning to one He had used to the disciples in an earlier period of His ministry;
"Ye are the salt of the earth.”
"Salt therefore is good.”
But what good is it when it has lost its savour? With a fine scorn He says,
"It is fit neither for the land nor for the dunghill; men cast it out."
It is no use. Men and women are no use to Me, said Jesus, unless they have the true property of salt. A Scotch version renders that, If it have lost its tang. "Tang" is a good biting word. People who look upon Christianity as something pleasant and easy, have no tang, no bite, no aseptic influence in the world, nothing to stop the spread of corruption.
"If the salt have lost its tang, wherewith shall it be seasoned? It is fit neither for the land, nor for the dunghill; men cast it out.”