The Reluctant Man
He said to another man, “Follow me.”
But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”
Jesus said to him “let the dead bury their own dead, but you go proclaim the kingdom of God. — Luke 9:59-60
Unlike the impulsive man who went to Jesus, Jesus came to the reluctant man. This man received an amazing invitation from Jesus Himself to follow Him. However, there was something about his dad that made him hesitate. Perhaps dad was a Pharisee who didn’t agree with the teachings of Jesus. Maybe the man stood to lose an inheritance if he accepted the invitation of Jesus. Whatever the case, I don’t believe the guy’s dad was actually dead. Jesus was not being insensitive here. If it had been a simple funeral to go to in a day or two, or even a week, then of course he could have gone. Dad was living. Something about dad was an idol in this reluctant man’s life. He felt he could not follow Jesus.
I was impulsive when I got saved. I said I would follow, but then did not. The reluctant man does not follow, but at least is man enough to admit it. In my opinion, it is much better to say “no” to Jesus, and then not follow Him, than it is to say “yes”, and then not follow Him. People who say “yes“, like I did, and then say “no” with the way that they live do much more harm to the kingdom of God than good. Ask any non-believer that you know why they don’t buy in to Christianity. More than half the time, the response will have something to do with those “hypocritical” Christians…people who said “yes”, then didn’t follow. The bad thing is that there is little defense…they are right. There simply are a lot of people who say they are Christians who don’t even make an attempt to live like it. I’m not saying you have to be perfect, you can’t be perfect, but you do have to be all in. You do have to make the effort to spend time with Him…it is the only way your heart will actually transform into His.
I can think of several other people that fall into the “reluctant” category, but for different reasons. The reluctant teenagers that I know are simply putting Jesus off for now. They believe, but they want to be able to do the things they know Jesus would not approve of before they give their lives to Him. Basically, they are saying “let me live in sin like I want to right now, when things settle down, I’ll start giving Him some consideration.” This is like having a gift for someone you know, then using that gift for yourself until it is wrecked and pitiful looking, and then still offering it as a gift. The good news is that Jesus will still accept the broken, battered gift, but you certainly wouldn’t want someone to do that to you. We are all broken in different ways when we come to Him, but there is no sense in completely destroying yourself. Give Him your life NOW. Today is always the day of salvation.
The other reluctant men I know simply believe they have to give things up before they can come to Jesus. They can’t stop cussing on their own, they can’t stop drinking, and basically have things in their lives that they know are wrong. They feel they can’t stop, and honestly believe they have to say “no” to the invitation of Jesus. I can only tell you this…there is absolutely no person in the last 2,000 years that didn’t bring sin to the cross in order to say “yes.” Part of receiving Jesus is handing him your sin. You can’t get rid of it. Where are you going to hide it? It does not just disappear. If sin is to be atoned for, it must be brought to the cross. Give it to Him. Then, follow Him. If you could get rid of your sin on your own, there would have been no reason for Jesus to come and do what He did.
If you are reluctant, Jesus says “give all that stuff to me, I already took care of it…you have one assignment, and one assignment only…
“Go proclaim the kingdom of God.”
A man who is immersed in proclaiming does not stay immersed in sin.