“Have You Counted the Cost?”

"For what is a man profited if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?" (Matt. 16.26)

     INTRO.: A song which is designed to help us think about the price that has to be paid if we gain the whole world and lose our souls is "Have You Counted The Cost?" (#266 in Hymns for Worship Revised, and #480 in Sacred Selections for the Church). The text was written and the tune was composed both by A. J. Hodge (?-1938). I have not been able to find any further information concerning this individual. The song was copyrighted in 1923 by Hodge and assigned to The Rodeheaver Company which renewed it in 1951. The Rodeheaver Company, founded by Homer A. Rodeheaver, is now a division of Word, Inc. The popularity of the song among churches of Christ is undoubtedly due in part to its inclusion in the 1956 Sacred Selections for the Church edited by Ellis J. Crum. Among other hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church for use in churches of Christ, it appeared in the 1963 Abiding Hymns edited by Robert C. Welch; and the 1971 Songs of the Church (original edition only) edited by Alton H. Howard. Today it is also found in the 1992 Praise for the Lord edited by John P. Wiegand; in addition to Hymns for Worship, Sacred Selections, and the 2007 Sacred Songs of the Church edited by William D. Jeffcoat. It has been widely and effectively used as an invitation song.

     The song reminds us of the dangers of not coming to Christ now.

I. Stanza 1 talks about the danger of rejecting the Lord
"There’s a line that is drawn by rejecting our Lord,
Where the call of His Spirit is lost,
And you hurry along with the pleasure-mad throng.
Have you counted, have you counted the cost?"
 A. To reject the Lord is to refuse to obey His word: Jn. 12.48
 B. When one rejects the Lord so often, there’s is a line that he may cross where the call of the Spirit, as revealed in the gospel, no longer seems to have any effect on him; this kind of attitude is described in scripture: Heb. 6.4-6, 10.26-29 (while these passage seem to be referring to those who have once obeyed the gospel and then gone back into the world, the same kind of situation may develop toward the truth in the hearts of those who have never become Christians)
 C. Yet, so many people hurry along with the pleasure-mad throng without any thought of the consequences: 2 Tim. 3.1-5

II. Stanza 2 talks about the danger of exchanging salvation for earthly joy
"You may barter your hope of eternity’s morn
For a moment of joy at the most;
For the glitter of sin, and the things it will win,
Have you counted, have you counted the cost?"
 A. God has offered us the hope of eternity’s morn: Tit. 1.2
 B. Yet, too many people seem willing to barter that hope for a moment of some perceived joy in this life; Moses understood the danger of this: Heb. 11.24-26
 C. Therefore, as we consider the glitter of sin and the things it will win, we need to stop and count the cost: Lk. 14.28-33

III. Stanza 3 talks about the danger of deferring obedience
"While the door of His mercy is open to you,
Ere the depth of His love you exhaust,
Won’t you come and be healed, won’t you whisper, ‘I yield?’
Have you counted, have you counted the cost?"
 A. Right now, the door of God’s mercy is open to everyone who wishes to enter into it: Eph. 2.4-10
 B. However, there will come a time when the depth of His love will be exhausted. From God’s standpoint, His love is inexhaustible because it is always there for those who will take it, but from our standpoint, it will be exhausted when we depart this life, because after death will be the judgment, not time for mercy: Heb. 9.27
 C. Thus, we need to come and be healed now, while time and opportunity are available: Matt. 13.14-16

     CONCL.: The chorus continues to ask if we have counted the cost for all those things which may keep us from meeting the Lord’s conditions to receive salvation if indeed we allow our soul to be lost in order to have them.
"Have you counted the cost if your soul should be lost,
Though the gain the whole world for your own?
Even now it may be that the line you have crossed.
Have you counted, have you counted the cost?"
We never know exactly when we may cross the line by the hardening of our hearts or by the loss of opportunity through death. Therefore, the song asks those who are not yet right with the Lord, "Have You Counted The Cost?"


4 thoughts on ““Have You Counted the Cost?”

  1. I love this song. In years past (the 60s)I had a record featuring “The Sixteen Singing Men”singing this song. I was so beautiful.

  2. Maryann,

    My grandmother loves this song too. I have tried everywhere to find a cd that has this song. Does anyone know where I might find it?

    Thank you.

    • 6 years after you asked, you probably have an answer but, if not, it is on Jim Wright’s Album ‘Sharon’s Rose’ which is available on Amazon.


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