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Book Review: The Cost

In his book, Steven Lawson asks whether you will count the cost and carry your cross for Christ.

In The Cost Lawson unpacks and applies Luke 14:25–35. Simply put, you cannot be a disciple of the Lord Jesus if you will not carry your cross. In this short, clear and balanced presentation Lawson’s burden is for unbelievers to believe, particularly people in church with a false sense of assurance, and believers to count the cost of following Him we profess as Lord. If we call Him Lord shouldn’t we obey Him as Lord?


Lawson structures the book by taking a key phrase as he works through this text. He shows us that Jesus calls would–be followers to a new direction in life. Then he reminds us of the different hearers and their responses and invites the reader to consider who they are among the hearers: the curious? The confused? the committed?

One of the joys of reading Lawson is his pithy, memorable phrases. Jesus words, he tells us, were ‘not hard to understand but hard to swallow’ (p.33) he says of the rich man, ‘Jesus was not saying he could not possess money but that money could not possess him’ (p.100). And for those of us who would follow we are reminded: ‘You must burn your bridges behind you’ (p.83)

In addition, Lawson gives the reader confidence in his handling of God’s Word. He warns against isolating one verse of Scripture in an unbalanced way. Listen to its symphony not only your favourite notes! For example, He helps us square ‘hatred’ of parents with the fifth commandment to honour them (p.35). Scripture interprets scripture, as has rightly been said: and Lawson does just that. In another example, Lawson deals with the call to give up all one’s possessions, pointing out that we can hardly take this to mean literal penury if a man is also charged to care for the members of his own household 1 Tim 5:8 (p.96). Wise counsel indeed!

Lawson wants to reach the uncommitted and unbelieving. Throughout the book he calls for self–examination and trust in Christ as Lord, to take up the cross and follow Him on His terms not ours. We are to place ourselves, in Lawson’s words, ‘under new management’ (p.97). This will be costly. But these are the only disciples Jesus seeks.

Read it for yourself or gather friends together as a group study. You shall be challenged and enriched.

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