Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.” Jesus replied, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” – Luke 9:61-62
Very much like last week, when the guy wanted to bury his father, this sounds like a reasonable request. I mean, Jesus, seriously, let the dude go say goodbye to his family. This appears to be one of those cultural things. A goodbye sendoff by a Jewish family in this time period would have meant a party that lasted for weeks. Therefore, the guy is saying, “I can’t follow right now, but give me a few weeks.” Maybe the guy would have changed his mind and Jesus knew it. More than likely, the guy would have done what the majority do here in America and try to maintain his own desires and the desires of Jesus. But, the Lord makes it pretty clear; you can’t serve two masters.
For years and years, maybe two decades after saying as a sixteen year old, “Lord, I will follow you,” there were things I can point to now where I told Him by the way I lived my life, “Hands off of that!” Wannabe followers don’t mind giving Jesus the stuff that they don’t really want anyway. There always seems to be a “that” for a wannabe that he or she continually prioritizes above Him. Notice that Jesus does not go ahead and add this guy as a soul won to the kingdom of Heaven; in fact, He flat out calls him “unfit for the kingdom.”
I guess it all comes down to this; is there anything in your life that you put ahead of following Jesus? Even on the same playing field as following Jesus? Are there compartments of your life that are off limits to Him?
“Lord, I will follow you, but leave my money alone! Don’t ask me to tithe because I don’t have that much anyway. Besides, isn’t that all those preachers want?”
“Lord, I will follow you, but leave my entertainment choices alone. I love watching movies. I know they cuss a good bit and take your Name in vain, but that’s just the world we live in today.”
“Lord, I will follow you, but my kid is great at sports and will probably be the next world class athlete. I’m sure they will honor you with their worldwide fame, so don’t ask me to anchor down at a local church because we’ve got travel ball.”
“Lord, I will follow you, but don’t ask me to study Your Word. It is very hard to read and understand, and besides I have other books to read, television shows to watch, game systems to play on, friends to text, and social media statuses to update.”
Lord, I will follow you, but don’t ask me to give up my girlfriend or boyfriend. I know we do drugs and we are having sex outside of marriage, but you were the one who made all that stuff, right?”
“Lord, I will follow you, but I’m busy and just don’t have a lot of time.”
Now listen, I’m not saying if you are currently doing any of this stuff that it is too late for you. I did an awful lot of these things for years as a beginning Christian. I am saying when God convicts you and says, “What about that?” you should be willing to do as Elisha did. When Elisha in the Old Testament was faced with this same decision to be the successor to Elijah, he burned his plow and barbecued his oxen (1 Kings 19:19-21). He wanted to make sure that if he even thought of turning back, he had nothing to go back to. All three of these wannabes had a chance to respond to Jesus with boldness. Instead they said, “Too difficult and too costly, Jesus, I’m out.”
Will you decide now to follow Jesus?
No turning back.