These are some thoughts on the following passage:
And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God. And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.Luke 9:57-62
This may be very common thoughts, but I have not heard them before, and so I wanted to write them down.
There are three men here, and they are all different, and we can learn from each man here.
The First Man
This man was impressed with Jesus. However, based on Jesus’ response, he did not count the cost. How often have we made a spur-of-the-moment decision based upon emotion, but we never really did think it through? We know that God wants us to plan ahead, and “count the cost” of what we decide to do for Him. He does not want us doing nothing at all — it is good to attempt things for the honor and glory and praise of God, but we should ensure that we have thought it through. It looks like this man was caught up in the excitement and didn’t consider how things would be when there were no crowds around Jesus. I hope he reconsidered and still decided to follow Jesus, but he may have walked away. How about us? I know I’ve sometimes tackled things that I hoped would be to God’s glory, but did not properly think it through. This is a good lesson for us.
The Second Man
This is the only man recruited by Jesus; the first man and the third man initiated the request, but Jesus asked (told) this man to follow him. This man didn’t say no, but he did try to delay his response. He had responsibilities – in this case, family responsibilities, and he put those ahead of God’s call. Although it may sound as though this man’s father were dead, it may be that this man’s father was declining, and he was offering to follow Jesus after his father passed away. How many of us are like that! As teens, we want to do well in school, so we don’t attend church services on school nights. Then we have a job and want to make a good impression at work, so we don’t have time for church. Then we are married, and want to have some “family time”, and Sunday is the only day for that… the list goes on. This is an excellent example of good being the enemy of best. It is good to be responsible, and all of the things just mentioned, but it is best to follow the call of God. If God called us, would we say “yes!” or would we be as this man and deflect.
The Third Man
I’m not sure what to think about this man… by his own profession he was ready to follow Jesus — but he wasn’t ready – he had not yet turned his back on his home life, and this is what Jesus points out to him. He talked a good game; he sounded very spiritual, but he wasn’t really committed to what he said. Do we talk bigger than we are prepared to do? If the second man had said this, it would have made sense; it would be fine to bid farewell to one’s family if Jesus called him. But this man effectively said “I’m ready to follow (but not really)”. Do we want to sound spiritual, but don’t follow through?
Well, there they are: three men, all with different issues regarding following Jesus. We tend to think well of ourselves, but, in honesty, I think I’ve failed in each of these three ways over the course of my life.