NO EASY CHOICES
Lord, we will follow You wherever You lead us.
Read LUKE 9:57–62
The Cost of Following Jesus
57 As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”
58 Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
59 He said to another man, “Follow me.”
But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”
60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
61 Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.”
62 Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“Love the Lord Your God and keep his requirements, his decrees, his laws and his commands always” (Deut. 11:1).
There is an innermost core of disciples—Peter, James and John—and Jesus holds them close. Around them is a more extensive group of men and women who have given up their regular lives to accompany him on his missionary journeys. Their lifestyle is strenuous and embraces a degree of homelessness, for at least that part of the year in which they are on the road (58). Then there are disciples who remain in their towns and villages and act as support systems for the itinerant workers on mission. Discipleship works out in these multifaceted categories.
In this passage we are introduced to three men who announce their desire to join themselves to those who travel with Jesus, moving from the settled group into the itinerants. Jesus has no intention of making things easy for them. In effect, he tries to dissuade them. He knows that they will ﬁnd it hard and perhaps understands that they could prove to be more of a hindrance than a help. His provocative questions are intended to penetrate beyond their surface, possibly romantic, enthusiasm and to test their resolve. To turn back having set one’s hand to the plough would help no one (62). Today we might do the same with those who feel called to pastoral or missionary service: we try to put them off to see if they bounce back.
What Jesus does contrasts with what we sometimes do. We tend to minimize the demands of discipleship in order to recruit people to the kingdom. We might emphasize its joys rather than its cost. Yet in the long run does this really proﬁt anyone? Jesus does not make grace cheap or entry into the kingdom easy. What counts is not an easy beginning but an endurance to the end (Matt. 24:13). Those who are truly saved will demonstrate this through perseverance.
“Make every effort to conﬁrm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble” (2 Pet. 1:10).
Lord, we count it a privilege to serve You in whatever capacity You have designated for us.
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