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“The Parable of the Tower Builder and the King Contemplating a Campaign: An Analysis, Explanation, and Reaching an Understanding,” by Andrew J. Schatkin

“The Parable of the Tower Builder and the King Contemplating a Campaign: An Analysis, Explanation, and Reaching an Understanding,” by Andrew J. Schatkin

My dear friends, readers, and fellow thinkers and intellectual discerners. I offer here an interpretation, understanding and analysis of the parable “The Parable of the Tower Builder, and the King Contemplating a Campaign,” found in the gospel of Luke, Chapter 14 28-33.

In the parable, the connection between the last sentence of advice by Jesus that he who does not renounce all he has cannot be my disciple does not have a clear connection with the previous story’s picture. In this parable, Jesus says two things: One, when you desire to build a tower, you should first sit down and count the cost whether you have enough to complete it; otherwise, when you have laid a foundation and are not able to finish, people will make fun of you saying, “This man began to build and was not able to finish.” Then, in another little story, Jesus says what king going to an encounter another king at war will not sit down first and ask the council whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand; and, if not, while the other person with twenty thousand is a great way off, he sends an embassy and asks terms of peace.

At first blush, we seem to be told here that we are to act with great care and careful preparation. Jesus seems to say here that, in general, if we go about something, we should do so with due consideration that we can accomplish what we wish. In the case with the person who desired to build the tower and did not first sit down and count the cost and is not able to finish, people will make fun of him. In the same way, the king who is at war with another king should be sure he has the same manpower to defeat the enemy and, if he does not, he must send someone to the embassy and ask for peace.

This last sentence seems to have little connection with these two parables. I think the point being made here is that our lives must be spent in preparation and care of all we do and, ultimately, if we do not prepare in our lives for what Jesus may be able to give us in terms of eternal life, and live our lives to the level he says we are capable of, we will lose out. Of course, this is a general interpretation of these parables and it seems Jesus says here that, in general, we should lead our lives and do whatever we do with great care on a practical basis, and if we do not do, we will lose out. The last sentence here is quite clear, that we must give up everything in our life or we cannot be a disciple of Christ. What we are asked to renounce certainly includes material goods and whatever things that hold us to ourselves, including our position in society, our families, our spouses, our parents, our intellect and even our looks should we think those important. The principle enunciated here is that if we wish to follow Christ fully and completely, we must give up everything that stands as a barrier to that.

This essay is taken, with alterations and modifications, from my book “The Parables of Jesus: A Personal Commentary,” pp. 87,88.