Luke 9: 57-62 (CEV)
57 – Along the way, someone said to Jesus, “I’ll go anywhere with you!”
58 – Jesus said, “Foxes have dens, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man doesn’t have a place to call his own.”
59 – Jesus told someone else to come with him. But the man said, “Lord, let me wait until I bury my father.”
60 – Jesus answered, “Let the dead take care of the dead, while you go and tell about God’s kingdom.”
61 – Then someone said to Jesus, “I want to go with you, Lord, but first let me go back and take care of things at home.”
62 – Jesus answered, “Anyone who starts plowing and keeps looking back isn’t worth a thing to God’s kingdom!”
So often it happens that when God calls us to ministry, we find ourselves making excuses as to why we’re unable to start now by prioritizing our problems. Here Jesus shows us that He is to be our number one priority and in verse 58 we see that often when God visits our lives, He does not necessarily come in a way that is appealing to us.
Following Christ comes at a price. We are not called to be followers of Christ who cling to our possessions, for the loss that comes with following Christ is a lot better than the loss that comes with not following Him, because you miss out on eternal life by not following Him.
This portion of the scripture shows us how we ought to follow Jesus, and it resembles the story of how God called Abraham in Genesis 12 as well as Ruth’s decision to follow Naomi in Ruth 1.
Now, although it may be true that God has the ability and the power to bless you with all of your heart’s desires; that should never become your primary reason for following him. The worries of life should never hinder the instructions God gives us concerning our walk with Him. The devil is mischievous in his doing, and he tries to make us believe that the “worldly” life we left behind is a better life than the one we’re currently living. As a result, it happens that many people want to follow Jesus, but when the time comes to do so, they make excuses.
When God appears in your life, He doesn’t necessarily come with a precise direction of where it is that you’re going with Him or where it is that He is taking you. As it is often said that God will either show you the mountain top or He will show the valley but at no point will He show you both; what He does do is He presents to you the cost of following Him.
We have to realize that even though God may bring us to a place of green pasture, that may not necessarily be the place He wants us to stop. So we need to avoid conclusive thoughts of where we think the finish line with God is because when it comes to God, we need to be aware of the fact that there is always more. We need to learn to move with the dynamics of God’s leading and His leading alone.
Verse 62 shows us that when we decide to stick with Christ, it means that we have made up our minds to follow Him and to not look back at what it is that we have left behind.
The calling of Christ is an everyday calling. When Christ calls you, fix your mind on the instructions given and run with it instead of focusing on everything else happening around you. Learn to establish God as your priority and in doing so, watch Him take care of everything that concerns you.
Our heart is the place where Jesus wants to dwell. It is known that everything else has a dwelling place, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head. We tend to give space and make room for many things in our hearts, and yet we struggle to make room for Jesus. This should be a wake-up call to make us realize that not only does following Christ means forsaking everything else, but it also shows us that the only place Jesus wants to dwell in is in our hearts.
Verse 62 also gives us the standard by which a worker in the kingdom of God is measured. Accepting Jesus’ call in our lives can be likened to that of a job application, and as Jesus’ disciples, our job is to bring others to encounter God. We cannot be followers of Christ and still live according to the standards of the world.
We, as disciples are in charge of bringing Christ to the world through our actions and our way of being; that is the reason why we cannot live a double life, with one leg in and one leg out. We are the ones to paint and display the characteristics of God in the way we carry ourselves and in so doing, we can either attract people to God or ruin their opportunity to meet God.
There are two kinds of people in this scripture. There’s the one who asked to follow Jesus, and there’s the other whom Jesus called. In Matthew 8, we see that one was a scribe, and the other was a disciple.
A disciple is a person who not only knows the vision of the master but also follows Him without looking back. To be unworthy of Christ means to not be of Christ; for you cannot be of Him and be unworthy of Him.
As a disciple, you ought to understand the mission and put aside your desires. Procrastinating the work that God has assigned to you can cause a delay in the lives of others who are suffering and waiting for you to reach out. When you cause others to suffer because of procrastination, you are not worthy of Christ. Everything that God does He does it from a place of love; not for His personal gain but for the benefit of the other person. Acting in the time of God brings freedom for those waiting on you, but if you understand the vision and yet still delay, then you’re not worthy of Him who has called you.
As a follower of Christ, you need to understand that it’s not about your comfort nor your convenience, but it’s about your obedience and your trust in God. It is seen in this scripture that Jesus emphasizes the importance of the kingdom.
The first man who wanted to follow Christ could have wanted to follow Him out of excitement from what he had seen or heard. Your focus in following Christ shouldn’t be on what you know you can get from Him but instead on what you can do for the kingdom.
The second man wanted to play it safe by taking care of his personal issues; which is a trap that we tend to fall into by putting our needs first before the needs of the kingdom. People may follow Christ for different reasons but let your ultimate reason for following Him be that you want to spend eternal life with Him.
The statement, “let the dead bury the dead”, shows us that without Jesus we’re dead. Jesus wanted to show the disciples that by following Him, they’ll find life and that choosing to follow Jesus is choosing life over death.
The first man Jesus interacted with showed a fanatic spirit. We are not called to be fanatics of Jesus, but we are called to be followers of Jesus, ones who know the vision and run with it. As a fan, you are ignorant of the true identity of Him who you follow, and so you base your knowledge of Him on what it is that you can see.
A fan of God is a man who is amazed at what God can do without being aware of the challenges that come along with following Him. His heart isn’t conditioned for hard times, and so he doesn’t expect challenges. The Bible refers to those with such a heart as ‘rocky grounds’, they are the ones who receive the Word gladly but because it isn’t sown on good soil when the challenges of life come their way, the waiver, which was seen with Peter when denied being a follower of Christ.
Do we ever really think of the cost of following Christ? For following Christ is a personal decision that we are responsible for.
Matthew 10:34-39 shows us that following Christ will cause us to separate ourselves from certain things or people. The prince of peace tells us that He didn’t only come to bring peace, but He also came to bring opposition. Following Christ will sometimes involve separation from things and the people you love. What would you say if you were told that the people or the things which you love were opposing God’s purpose in your life? Are you ready to be sent to places you do not like? Are you prepared to be uncomfortable for the sake of Christ?
The second man Jesus interacted with is the one whom He told to follow Him. When Jesus calls you, He makes the challenges evident to you so that you may consciously be able to accept or reject the call. A heart that says ‘but’ to the call of Jesus is a heart that takes precautions when following Jesus.
The uncertainty of the future will always cause you to review your current decisions. It’s a lot easier to follow directions on a GPS, but it’s a lot harder to trust God when He shows you a destination without showing you a clear path. Can you bear the thought of not knowing how Jesus will take care of your needs? Every disciple must accept the uncertainty that comes with following Christ, for you cannot say ”yes” to Christ but ”no” to the uncertainties. The calling of God will always come once the uncertainties have been made clear to you.
The uncertainties presented to you by God are there to sober up your excitement. You might not think that you’ve ever said “I will follow Jesus” but trust that you may have said it in a song or in one way or another and so most times we find ourselves saying we will follow Him without being aware of it, but we need to know that by choosing to follow Jesus, we commit to a life we do not know.
God allows for uncertainties to creep in because He wants to be our certainty in the midst of all uncertainties. Uncertainties refer to the character of that which cannot be determined in advance.
There will be times when you will question God; picture the case of Abraham when God told him to leave his country and go to a place He will show him. When Abraham got to Canaan, a land that was already occupied at the time, God still said He would give this place to him and his descendants and there laid the uncertainty.
Every disciple must be willing to face and accept the uncertainties that are attached to following Jesus, for there are things you’ll leave when you follow Chris, but there are also things you’ll encounter when you follow Christ. Jesus tells us that we’ll get everything we desire a 100 folds, but He continues by telling us of the persecution that will come with it.
The presence of God in your life should birth confidence in you because the presence of God is the biggest army and the biggest weapon you will ever need. You do not need to take precautions or look for safety because Jesus is already with you, reason, why He sent us the Holy Spirit to remind us that His presence is all that we need, as the guarantee. It isn’t in our capacities, but it’s in the fact that Jesus is with us. That is why the angel told Marry that Jesus would be called Emmanuel, God with us.
When God is with us, even complicated situations become opportunities, for His presence in our lives becomes evident the moment we accept Him as our personal Lord and Savior.
Nonetheless, we need to remember that every choice carries a risk because of the unknown. Even the decision to follow Christ comes with risks, but with this, the probability of it turning into failure becomes ZERO; though there may apparent ‘failures’ because you have God with you, He will never allow it to become one.
-You have a long journey ahead with Christ, filled with uncertainties that could push you to make wrong decisions or go to the wrong places. Ask the Lord to reassure you of His presence in your life. Say, Lord, it is well because you are with me.
– If you’ve been facing uncertainty and you made plans, but none of them was catered for, and you’re now wondering what is going on and you do not know what to do next, pray and declare that through it all He is God and that you are not alone. Tonight the Lord is reassuring you of His presence in your life.