"For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?" (Luke 14.28)

No one can accuse Jesus of not planning. It certainly was not His plan to study at a university, earn a degree, become an ascending professional, get married, have children, and grow old serenely beside His family. His plan was to become incarnate, announce the kingdom of God, and make many disciples as a result of this proclamation. To reach all of these objectives, Jesus was often praying, gathering information, and preparing to execute His Father's plan. As followers of Christ and leaders in His church, we need to follow in His footsteps.

Above all, we need to demonstrate a disposition for reaching our objectives. Nothing is accomplished if we don't want to reach the goal. We know how hard it is to lead people who do not wish to follow or work together. Rather than following or supporting, they see only problems and difficulties. They always remain on the defensive or on the sidelines. They form pockets of resistance against leadership just for the sake of opposition.

"For which of you, desiring to build a tower . . ." It is fundamental to want to move your will in the direction of your desired objective. Without this determination, everything becomes jammed. As leaders, we need to believe in a God who works in us both to will and to work (Phil. 2:13). We serve a Lord who acts upon the emotions, upon the reason, and upon the will. Why don't we pray, asking Him to give us the spirit to build towers?

Planning must address two basic matters: the objectives we wish to accomplish and the means to attain those objectives. In this text, Jesus first takes us to the purpose of what we are doing; then it takes us to the conclusion of the project the completion of the tower.

We need to have eyes to see to see from the planted seed to the harvested fruit; from the bare soil to the completed building; from the evangelized individual to the growing church. Where do we want to go? That is the question. What do we effectively long for? Toward what goal can we allow ourselves to aspire? Without losing the notion of reality, we must dare to dream.

But planning must also address the means for accomplishing the project. Jesus affirmed that we must "count the cost to see that we have enough." Evaluation of the means is vital. First, it promotes balance among the available resources, whether time, money, energy, or people. Second, it identifies any deficit that needs to be overcome. The purpose of Jesus is not to discourage the builder from building the tower. He only warns: "If you don't have enough, do something positive to promote your vision and go after the necessary means."

It is important to note that none of this is done without first "sitting down" to plan. It is very interesting that Jesus availed Himself of this important process: "First sit down." To move your goal from dream to reality, you and your followers motivated and unmotivated need and deserve time for reflection. Praying, thinking, talking, and seeing in depth are vital for the execution of the plan. Of course, no one actually builds a tower while sitting down. But in order to build appropriately, you first need to sit down.

As we approach the end of another year, we are making plans for ourselves and for our church. Follow Jesus' example and focus on the necesstiy of good planning. May the Lord bless us in this process!

Jonas Arrais
General Conference Associate Ministerial Secretary