Going Up?: The Price of Next-Gen Games and Counting the Cost (Luke 14:25-33)

For an entire console generation we took the $59.99 price point for granted, but it appears that change may be on the horizon.  Buried within the plethora of announcements regarding the newest iteration of NBA2K was this little innocuous nugget of previously undisclosed information… The PS5 and Xbox Series X versions of the game will retail at $69.99, a full $10 higher than the current standard retail price for new release games.  Now it is a little too early to assume that ALL games for these next-gen consoles will adopt this price point, but it is also a very safe guess that this may become the “new normal” for those of us looking forward to indulging in Halo:Infinite, Spider-Man: Miles Morales, or any of the other titles that have been revealed during their respective developer’s showcase.


It is completely understandable that the increase in development costs for creating new games on an entirely different gaming platform would eventually be passed on to the consumers… to be fair the price point for video games has remained consistent for TWO generations of consoles.  But we also have to consider that many of these games are already layering in additional micro-transactions, DLC content, and other expansions to further monetize a game well past it’s original price.  It has been my observation that many of the most avid players of NBA2K have spent far more on virtual currency for in-game enhancements than they did on their purchase of the ACTUAL GAME.  When we add in all of these “options” we can often feel like we just left a car dealership and purchased the optional undercoating and “sport package” for our new set of wheels… regardless of our appreciation for these little “extras” it’s hard not to feel like we paid a lot more than we had originally planned on.


The truth is that a “base-model” experience simply isn’t going to be a part of the launch of the PS5 or the Xbox series X… all of these lush graphics, memory upgrades, and power increases are going to have a price tag associated with them.  And while we are certainly free to enjoy the games and systems we currently own without taking this next very expensive leap forward, if we want to experience the further adventures of Master Chief, Aloy, or any of our other favorite gaming heroes it’s time to start counting the cost.  We may not know the actual price of the consoles or peripherals just yet, but we can make some pretty educated guesses on where they will land.  I guess all that remains is to start saving up and decide which kidney we like the least.  Livers are optional, right?

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As believers in Christ we are told to “count the cost” as well.  While it is true that Christ’s death and resurrection provided the gift of salvation to all of us free of charge, accepting that gift and choosing to follow Him is anything but free.  As a matter of fact… it costs EVERYTHING.  You might say that sounds contradictory… well, let’s dive into the words of Jesus Himself and we will find out exactly what “counting the cost” is all about…

Luke 14:25-33 Now great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it—lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him,saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish’? Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace. So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.

Now before we dig into this too deeply, let’s clarify the word translated as “hate” in this verse very quickly.  When Jesus used the Greek word “misei” it is not translated the way our English language translates hate, but is more properly translated as “to love someone or something less in comparison”.  It is a matter of priority and placement.  And just to insure that we did not misunderstand Him, He used two distinct but similar analogies to help us understand exactly what He meant.


Let’s take a deeper look at the tower parable.  Only an inexperienced or foolish builder would consider making a commitment to building a structure before they have calculated how much the final project would cost.  To start building without securing the finances necessary to finish the job will only leave an unfinished eye-sore for all to see… a permanent warning of the folly of failing to proactively count the cost.  And if we are going to keep it real here, the largest disservice to Christ on the planet are these “half-completed” monuments all around us… well-meaning people with the best of intentions, souls who started out with a plan to follow Christ but couldn’t follow through because they didn’t truly consider the ramifications of that decision.  And sadly, many prospective believers are discouraged from beginning their walk towards God because the path is littered with the discarded baggage of those who quit halfway through the journey.


The message could not be more clear… there is no going “partway” with God.  He does not have “membership levels”… there is simply all or nothing.  Anything in between is not only a waste of time and resources, but an unwanted distraction for those who are still making their decision.  As a matter of fact, the Lord makes his view even more graphic when referencing the church of Laodicea in book of Revelation…

Revelation 3:15-16 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.

That’s some pretty strong medicine… but the Father knows that the most dangerous house is the one that is built on shifting sand (Matthew 7:24-27).  It causes total destruction not only for the owner of the house, but for all of those who may become collateral damage as the structure collapses.  He knows that the path a believer must walk requires TOTAL commitment… one that is above all other loves, goals, dreams, or aspirations.  When He commanded that we have no other “gods” before him way back in the very first commandment (Exodus 20:3), He was letting us know that there will be other things that we will be tempted to place above Him in life.  It was the FIRST commandment for a reason.  If we aren’t prepared to keep the very first one, there probably isn’t much reason to keep reading through the other nine.

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The cost to follow Christ requires us to give EVERYTHING to Him… but here is the good news.  He is prepared to finance the WHOLE project.  He has infinite resources to build the tower… but He has to be given complete and total control over the “building site”.  If we do our part, He has promised to supply ALL of our needs (Philippians 4:19).  By giving the incredibly limited “all” that we possess, He has promised to provide above and beyond our ability to hope or even imagine.  Maybe not the way we imagine or THINK we need… but it WILL be everything we need to complete the project.


I am greatly looking forward to this next generation of consoles… but there isn’t a point in buying the software unless I am sure I can afford the actual CONSOLE first.  And if I can’t afford a second controller for my wife, then what is the point of picking up Halo: Infinite when the whole reason we want it is to play through it cooperatively?  I have some bean counting to do… I wonder how attached she is to HER kidneys.  But seriously, counting the cost of what it will take to have everything we need to enjoy this next-generation of consoles and games pales in comparison to how we must truly and deeply consider our commitment to follow Christ.  He couldn’t have made it more plain and direct… “Whoever does not forsake ALL he has cannot be my disciple”.

It is an “all-in” choice that we make to follow Him at home, at work, at school, when we are alone, when we are with family and friends, and in everything else that we do.  And in return He has promised that anything we lose in order to follow Him is covered under His discipleship warranty plan…

Matthew 19:29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life.

I want to encourage everyone reading this to not only truly count the cost of following Christ, but to count the REWARDS.  For the low, low price of everything we have (in comparison to His resources it’s pretty pathetic, really),  He has promised us His endless provision in this life and most importantly ETERNAL life in the next one.  He won’t accept just your kidneys, your liver, or your plasma donations… He needs your ENTIRE vessel.  No down payment, no finance charges, and DEFINITELY no upcharge for basic amenities… just a straight up trade-in of our old clunker for His perfect plan for our lives.  It WILL cost everything we have… but if we are being honest we kind of rolled into the dealership on fumes, four flat tires and a shot engine to begin with.  He wants all or nothing… and it is the best deal any of us will ever make.


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