In the Gospel reading this week, three different people approach Jesus and enquire about the cost of discipleship.  To the first one Jesus says, in effect, you must count the cost: “Foxes have dens to live in and birds have nests but I, the Son of Man, have no home of my own.”  Following Jesus means that we must be prepared to give up all creature comforts.  Those who demand a comfortable life have misunderstood the call.  To the second Jesus says, in effect, don’t delay.  The man thought that he would look after his father in his old age until he was dead and buried and then he would follow Jesus.  Jesus says, no, don’t postpone the decision: “Let those who are spiritually dead care for their own dead.”  The final enquirer wanted to say good-bye to his family first.  To him Jesus says, you mustn’t look back: “Anyone who puts a hand to the plough and then looks back is not fit for the kingdom of God.”  Nobody can plough a straight furrow by looking backwards and nobody can be fully effective in hastening the kingdom of God if they are always dwelling in the past.  Does all this sound challenging?  The answer is yes, and the reason is because true discipleship is costly.  It is costly in material ways as well as emotional ways.  We know this to be true in our experience and the refreshing thing about Jesus is that he makes all of this abundantly clear in this part of the bible.