Counting the Cost

Krispy Kreme Fat SignAnticipating the consequences of our decisions

The cost of a thing is the amount of what I will call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run. Henry D Thoreau

If we could sell our experiences for what they cost us we’d be millionaires. Abigail van Buren

The cost of freedom is always high, but Americans have always paid it. And one path we shall never choose, and that is the path of surrender, or submission. John F Kennedy 

  If we could count the costs of our decisions before making them, we would likely do some things differently. Some costs are too great for what we actually get in return. If only we could make fewer mistakes. How many things would we do differently if we could go back and do them over? If we knew then, what we know now, would our lives be different? If we could see consequences in advance, would we make better decisions?  

  Who among us has not made really poor decisions that came back to haunt us? How many of us have made poor financial decisions, bad job decisions or mistakes in our relationships? How many of us have become a slave to debt. Look at what our bad decisions have cost and continue to cost. The benefits of having something now is often not worth what it costs us in so many other ways. Bad decisions have lasting consequences. How many have left good jobs for bad, or failed to take advantage of a job opportunity by failing to act? What about the long term costs of now getting additional training or going to college? How many marriages and families have been destroyed due to making a poor choice and giving in to temptation? How many of us can look back in hindsight and wish we would have done things differently? What if we could have known the consequences?    

   All of us can give examples of mistakes we have made by failing to count the costs before taking an action or making a decision. In golf, a mulligan is an opportunity to take a shot over again. You make a bad shot; you get an opportunity to do it all over again. Life does not typically work this way. Many decisions do not include do-overs. We have to live with the consequences. We need to do better at getting it right the first time.

    We can improve our success rate by doing better at counting the costs, considering the consequences, and making better decisions. The greater the potential costs and consequences, the more care, planning and caution, we should use. We should err on the safe side and avoid making those decisions we know will likely come back to bite us. If our conscience or gut tells us something is a bad choice, more often than not we should listen to it.

Challenge: You should look back and replay some bad decisions you have made. Did you really consider the consequences before making the choice? Did you listen to your conscience? Would you do things differently? Use this experience to reinforce the importance of counting the costs. Take the time; think, consider carefully; what can go wrong; be very cautious. Making better decisions will only help to improve the quality of your life.  

Wisdom: Wisdom consists of the anticipation of consequences. Norman Cousins

Spiritual: (NIV)

If any of you seek wisdom. he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. James 1:5

You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours. Psalm 128:2

Tell the righteous it will be well with them, for they will enjoy the fruit of their deeds. Isaiah 3:10

There are two primary approaches to life; the secular way and the spiritual way. The secular way is the do it yourself approach: not wanting any help, being self-sufficient and finding out too many things the hard way. Many never learn that the spiritual way is so much better in every way. By having a personal and interactive relationship with God, we will be enabled to live life at a higher level. God will listen, guide, direct and help us.

Prayer:  Help me to count the costs of the decisions I make. Help me to make better decisions.


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