As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” He said to another man, “Follow me.” But the man replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-bye to my family.” Jesus replied, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:57-62)
What will discipleship cost you? From these scriptures it is very clear that Jesus sets the bar very high. It always amazes me that we have no problem committing to be at a doctor’s appointment but has a hard time committing to the Gospel.
In this passage we have three people coming to Jesus with the desire to be a part of his kingdom but they have some reservations before they commit.
The first one says that he will follow Jesus wherever he goes. This sounds really great but Jesus responds in a very specific way. “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
What is Jesus saying here? Your head represents your mind. He has no place to lay down his head. Where does the mind of God find a place? Where do we prepare a place for his thinking? Many people say: “we will follow” but they haven’t surrendered their minds to commit to that. As soon as difficulty arises they turn back to the world.
Secondly Jesus asks a man to follow him but he first wants to take care of business. I have a father to bury. Family is important and they need me right now. This man is saying I will, but not now.
There are things that are of greater importance right now. My priority is not the kingdom right now, even though I know I need it.
Discipleship is not a thing we do when we feel like it. It is a commitment we have and that commitment has priority.
Thirdly we see someone that wants to follow but he first wants to go back and say goodbye. Again Jesus response reveals something in this man’s response. If you look back, you disqualified yourself. This man will be in the kingdom but he will constantly be hampered by wanting to go back and looking at things in his past. Once we join the kingdom we set our faces like a flint, we look forward and we stay on the offence.
Daily I meet people that had to make the choice to follow Jesus. Some of them do it at a great cost. One minister I met was thrown out of China for preaching the Gospel. They deported him but kept his wife and two sons. He has not seen them in four years. When they deported him he gave the government an option. “If you leave me I will preach the Gospel and many will be saved. If you deport me I will raise up 10,000 missionaries outside of China and send them back to preach the Gospel.” The deported him and he has send over 2500 missionaries from outside of China back to do missions. They should have left him alone. He is working on the other 7500 he still wants to send. Here is a man that is a true disciple.
Here is the question I want to pose to you. Do you have your priority and commitment aligned with Jesus’ expectation?
What do you still need to give up to be a true disciple? Not only are we known by what it costs us to be a follower of Jesus, but also by the way we love each other. And true love is costly.
John 13:35 By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another.
This week’s challenge: What’s that one thing you have yet to lay down? Identify what God is calling you to give up for Him this week. Be obedient to that.
Yours in the journey,