COUNTING THE COSTS
Counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it.
"But Sergeant, there's a whole lot of words here I'm signing that I agree to. Shouldn't I at least be told what all these words mean before I sign? Besides, I thought there'd be a lot of hard work, something like basic training I think they call it. And isn't there a war going on? Won't I have to be prepared for fighting a war?"
"That's all fable and poppycock son. Here, read this card and it'll tell you everything you need to know about the Army. It's an overview of the Manual you're signing. No surprises, only benefits I can assure you. As for any war, don't worry about it. You'll be among fellow soldiers and you won't even know there's a war going on, this I can assure you. So what about it my boy? Are you ready to begin your life of leisure and glory?"
Ah, Sgt Impeccable is about to interview a young applicant. Let's listen in to his conversation:
"I tried to read it Sgt Impeccable, but to tell you the truth, I couldn't understand most of it. It sounds to me like the Manual is saying that I'm about to be treated badly, even by those I work with and under. That's a hard nut to swallow if you know what I mean. Could you kind of capsulize for me what the Manual says?"
"Certainly. What you're agreeing to is a life of servitude. You'll be serving not only your country, but your fellow man as well. There will be none of this glory-seeking you experienced as the star of your football team. You will, as a soldier, instead be showing respect and giving glory to everyone, civilian and military alike. And those you help are as likely to spit on you as to look at you. While you risk your life to serve your country there will be those who will accuse you of being a villain, saying you have no business being in the war. You will in essence be a stepping stone for everyone, friend and foe alike. You realize of course there's a war going on, and that you will have to endure preparation for this war. In doing so, you will be beaten down and made to feel like a worm, like nothing. Then from that humble state you will be taught and conditioned to become the soldier you need to be to endure the rigors of war. Don't fool yourself, or let anyone fool you, your life from here on out will be hard and arduous, but the rewards you receive will be great in that you'll know you have purpose and a feeling of worth to yourself and your fellow man. Does this help you to better understand what you're getting into when you sign on the dotted line? If you have any doubts, then don't sign since by signing you are agreeing to turn the rest of you life over to the service of your country with no turning back."
"That is entirely true Mr Busybody. You might say we are two heads attached to the same body. I gather this confuses you. What is it you're seeing that causes your confusion?"
"Well, I don't know if you've heard what the other uses as a come-on, but where one of you almost chases the applicant away with what could be taken as threats, the other offers ice cream and cake. How can this be so? Isn't promising a youngster a life of leisure rather like deceiving the youngster? Can you please explain your reasoning to me Sgt Nicolaitan?"
"Certainly Mr Busybody. As you can see the Manual we use is very large and filled will many words that are ambivalent, that is to say, they can be read in any way a person desires to read them. I read them one way, and Sgt Impeccable reads them another way. I tell the applicant what they want to hear, which is how I read the Manual, and Sgt Impeccable tell them what he believes they need to hear. Actually, it makes no difference since the result will be the same regardless of what means a person should become a member of the service. If they know ahead of time what they will experience, of if they join because of a selfish dream they may have, they will still be soldiers, and that's the important thing."
"Hmmm, that's in interesting if not an abstract explanation Sgt Nicolaitan. I would like to ask you a question if I may. If the Army was in fact as each of you described, and if there were two separate armies, should those two armies go to war against one another, what do you think the result would be?"
"It would be a slaughter Mr Busybody, a devastating slaughter."
25And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them, 26If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. 27And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. 28For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? (Luke 14:)
10Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. (Mat 5:)
20Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. 21But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me (John 15:)
22Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God. (Acts 14:)
1Judge not, that ye be not judged. 2For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. 3And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? (Mat 7