Is This A Bad Time?
57 As they were walking along, someone said to Jesus, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58 But Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay his head.” 59 He said to another person, “Come, follow me.” The man agreed, but he said, “Lord, first let me return home and bury my father.” 60 But Jesus told him, “Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead![l] Your duty is to go and preach about the Kingdom of God.” 61 Another said, “Yes, Lord, I will follow you, but first let me say good-bye to my family.” 62 But Jesus told him, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.”
I love that Jesus can show up at a random village, people spontaneously become captivated and have an overwhelming desire to leave everything to follow Him. No campaign speeches, marketing materials, or social media presence needed. Just the simple preaching and demonstration of the gospel, coupled with God’s Presence are enough to captivate any heart to say, “Yes” to something they don’t fully understand yet. That’s wild! Jesus responds honestly to this enthralled new disciple. “Yes, come follow Me, but understand there is a cost to being My disciple. A life devoted to My call, is a life dependent on my Father’s provision, not the world’s advantages. Don’t say yes, unless you're truly ready to live the ”Not of This World Lifestyle”.” To follow Jesus is to learn how to unfollow the world.
He then turns to another man, who we can only assume heard the conversation Jesus had with the gentlemen before him, and Jesus gives Him a personal invitation. “Come follow me”. Plain, simple, and no details included. In my humble opinion, that is absolutely terrifying. Like a well raised southerner with great manners, the second man says, “No” by saying, “Yes” (I’m just teasing, he was probably a Yankee). In the blink of an eye, the same God/Man that caused one person to basically forsake everything else in his life to follow, causes another person to retreat. You might ask, “Wait a minute, the second man’s father is passing or has already passed away, doesn't it seem reasonable that he would want to wait until after the burial to make this radical leap of faith? For crying out loud this guy is honoring his father, that's one of the Ten Commandments.” The answer is absolutely yes. Jesus being God, was totally aware of the pressure He put on this man by inviting him to follow. I think that was the point of the personal invitation. Rarely, is it ever a good, safe and logical time to say, “Yes” to what God is calling you too. The more we mull over the invitation, and its implication on all the variables in our life, the more prone we are to miss out on what He’s planned for us. Immediate obedience to His Word is the only thing you need to be concerned about when responding to His call. Everything else is the Father’s responsibility to sort out, since He is the one calling you out of your unfavorable timed situation to follow Him. In short, if He is calling you to neglect a responsibility to follow Him, then you'll have to trust that He has thought about the impact of your choice and that He is able and willing to take care of everything you need Him to, on your behalf.
The last guy is my favorite. He’s probably the most relatable to me. He has too many irons in the fire. He is prone not to think through what he is saying, “Yes” to, before committing and eagerly volunteering to do what is right. We don't know for sure if he has heard the dialogue exchange between Jesus and the last two men, but he has definitely caught on to the trend. Without giving it a second thought, and because of suffering from FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), he bursts onto the scene, “Jesus I’m in!”. He just has one hang up; he essentially wants to go home and get all of his business affairs in order. Being an Agrarian culture, going home to say goodbye to your family is also going home to tie up all your business affairs. Jesus sees this and confronts the man by saying frankly, “There is only one business affair that needs your attention if you're following me, building My Kingdom.” If you intend to follow Jesus while prioritizing your businesses, family, or anything else for that matter, over Him then don’t bother. That will not work. In fact, it will cause great pain and chaos. Jesus knew He was trying to spare the man the inevitable disappointment of a divided devotion. Family, work and all the other stuff must be submitted, to your devotion to Jesus, in order for the call to work in your life.
Yes, this whole following Jesus thing can be demanding stuff. The cost is high, the timing is usually bad, and everything else has to take a second seat to what He is calling us too. Honestly, all that is true and if you look at it on paper, it wouldn't be worth it. The only good reason you would ever say, “Yes” to something so demanding is because the worth of the One doing the calling. The heart of what, I think, Jesus is getting to with the conversations of these three men: He is worthy and He is faithful! In fact, after 13 years of doing my best to follow where He calls, I can testify – He is worthy of every tear, sorrow, loss, heartache, and anything else I might walk through, in order to be obedient to His call.
This last year has been one of my favorite examples of our church body saying, “Yes” to His call for Appalachia. Despite not having the luxury to think about the costs of saying, “Yes” and what we were actually getting ourselves into. Despite the terrible timing of pandemics, floundering economies and other crazy news crises. Despite having to sideline and put many other priorities on the back burner. We have said, “Yes”, to the best of our ability, to build our facility, going to the lost, and being a Body that preaches the unfiltered living gospel. Admittedly, when called, sometimes my flesh begins to well up and I start to think, “This isn't going to work, or this may not be such a great idea after all”. It's usually, at that point, His Presence shows up and leaves me speechless, in awe and thankfulness that we said, “YES”! Yes beloved, He is absolutely and undeniably worth following and always faithful to His call. I am excited to continue to follow Him with you into 2022.