Successful People Calculate the Costs

January 20, 2023
Successful People Calculate the Costs

Nehemiah - “And please give me a letter addressed to Asaph, the manager of the king’s forest, instructing him to give me timber. I will need it to make beams for the gates of the Temple fortress, for the city walls, and for a house for myself.” (Nehemiah 2:8)
Jesus - "If one of you is planning to build a tower, he sits down first and figures out what it will cost to see if he has enough money to finish the job."  (Luke 14:28)


One thing in life is certainly true - almost everything has a price tag. This was certainly the case with Nehemiah and his interaction with the king. Honestly, once he had the king’s ear, he was able to give him a shopping list to go with it. It’s as if Nehemiah said, “First, I want you to let me go to Jerusalem. Then, I want you to give me letters and physical protection so I can arrive there safely. Oh, and by the way, I’d like for you to pay for everything as well.”
Nehemiah knew there was going to be a cost for everything along his journey. First, he asks the king for lumber to build the city gates, the city walls, and (as if that isn’t enough), for his own house. Now, it’s important to remember that Nehemiah is not a contractor. As far as we know, he’s never built anything. He’s a cupbearer. However, when his opportunity arose, he had a list of materials ready and was quick to share exactly what he needed. He was able to do this because he had taken the necessary time to plan and calculate the costs.
Successful planning includes careful budgeting. How did Nehemiah know what to ask for? He spent time calculating the cost. How did he know there was a royal forest near the city of Jerusalem? He had done advance planning and research. The whole of Nehemiah chapter two indicates that Nehemiah already knew what he was getting himself into when he found himself in this situation. He had spent so much time in research that he even knew that the manager of the king’s forest near Jerusalem was named Asaph. Nehemiah had done his homework. He knew how much funding he was going to need because he knew he was going to have to ask the king for the money and for the materials.
God has amazing opportunities for us. However, we must be prepared to take advantage of them when they are presented to us. If Nehemiah had not completed his planning, he wouldn’t have been prepared to respond to the king. He wouldn’t have been able to calculate and therefore articulate his needs. Jesus once said, “If one of you is planning to build a tower, he sits down first and figures out what it will cost to see if he has enough money to finish the job.” (Luke 14:28) Nehemiah would certainly agree with Jesus.


Take a minute and review your goals, projects, and deadlines. Are there items you need to focus on and further calculate the costs? Plan to work on that today. If you’re leading your family through this time, select at least one family project and then spend time calculating the cost of that project as a family.


Lord, please give me the wisdom I need to anticipate the potential problems I might face and the courage to make plans to face these problems. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

Today is Day Thirteen of our prayer and fasting emphasis. Take time to review your prayer requests and then pray once again, lifting them up to the Lord. It’s not too late for Him to do a miracle in someone’s life. -

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