S (Scripture): Luke 9:57 As [Jesus and his disciples] were walking along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58 Jesus said to him, “Foxes have dens and the birds in the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” 59 Jesus said to another, “Follow me.” But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” 60 But Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” 61 Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say goodbye to my family.” 62 Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
O (Observation): In each of these cases, the person who is asked by Jesus to follow him has something else vying for his or her attention. One will not be able to follow Jesus AND have a place to rest/call home. One will not follow Jesus AND be allowed to bury their own dead. One will not be allowed to follow Jesus AND say goodbye to family.
Whatever the ancient social customs mean for each of these challenges, Jesus is pretty clear: Kingdom work needs undivided attention.
A (Application): Obviously, we all have difficulty facing these challenges Jesus lays out to these disciples. We all have varied levels of attention we give to personal comforts, family ties, and social decorum.
But amazingly, when God equips us for mission and ministry, we tend to do things we thought we’d be unable to do. This is how God works. We are given a challenge as we follow Jesus, and in some way, God works things out.
Jesus doesn’t chastise those who don’t follow; rather, Jesus sets forth the challenge. He promises to be with them, but he also sets the bar pretty high.
Heading off to seminary and following God’s call for my time as a pastor (Greeneville, TN, and now, Murfreesboro, TN) and living away from extended family has been a challenge for us. Our kids have been growing up in wholesome environments, but it’s different for them than it was for me, since they have moved around many more times than I did as a child. That can be difficult for them. But perhaps our blessing comes in being exposed to different people from different cultures…people we would not have met, otherwise.
My family and I are on a journey with Jesus. We are blessed. We are imperfect. We are loved, by God, and by the people around us.
What is your difficulty in being a follower of Christ?
P (Prayer): Lord, keep setting forth the challenges that come with discipleship. And keep on reminding us that you are with us. Amen.