God’s People, part 214: But First…

Read Luke 9:61-62

“But Lot’s wife looked back as she was following behind him, and she turned into a pillar of salt.”  (Genesis 19:26, NLT)

When we think of God’s people, we tend to think one of two things. We might think of the Israelites who were God’s “chosen people”, or we might think of specific characters in the Bible. Either way, we tend to idealize the people we are thinking about. For instance, we may think that God’s people are super faithful, holy, perform miracles and live wholly devout and righteous lives. Unfortunately, this idealism enables us to distance ourselves from being God’s people, because we feel that we fall short of those ideals. As such, I have decided to write a devotion series on specific characters in the Bible in order to show you how much these Biblical people are truly like us, and how much we are truly called to be God’s people.

KingJesusPart 214: But First…: One has to wonder if the man in today’s Scripture reading was actually paying attention to the first two that attempted to follow Jesus. To recap, the first man was someone who was caught up in what Jesus had been saying and doing. In an emotional response, he called out to Jesus, “I will follow you wherever you go” (Luke 9:57, NLT). To which Jesus responded, “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay his head”  (Luke 9:58, NLT).

The second gentleman was some one Jesus had called to follow him; however, he was a dutiful son who did not want to leave his father; therefore, he said he would follow, but requested that Jesus allow him to wait until he buried his father. That request was denied, and Jesus certainly conveyed the urgency and the importance of his mission in doing so.

Now, we get to this third man and we have to wonder if he was simply not paying attention. That is one possibility or, the other is that it is possible that, while these three instance are back-to-back in Scripture, they didn’t happen at the same time. Either way, this man called out to Jesus and said, “Yes, Lord, I will follow you. But first let me say good-bye to my family.” If I could insert a Jesus face-palm picture in here, I would. Clearly, if Jesus wouldn’t grant a person the opportunity to wait and bury his father, why would he grant that concession to this man? Then again, the man saying good-bye would take far less time than a man returning home to wait for his father to die. Maybe this man was not “face-palm” worthy after all.

Still Jesus answered as, by now, you probably would expect: “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.””  (Luke 9:62, NLT). Again, Jesus was making it clear what that his gospel mission was of the utmost importance. It could not, would not, take 2nd place to any other purpose. When Jesus call his disciples, he does not do it at their convenience? His calling does not come on their time or the way that would be most comfortable for them; rather, his call comes on his time and with urgency.

This, my friends, should challenge us all. In what ways have we been negligent in answering Christ’s call? When reading this passage, I cannot help but think of Lot’s wife in Genesis. When God’s angels told Lot and his family to leave Sodom, they also warned them not to look back at the city. Sadly, Lot’s wife could not avoid looking back and, as a result, she turned into a pillar of salt.

In what ways are we Lot’s wife? In what ways are we this man who wants to look back to his family before committing to follow Jesus? This man could have simply said yes without condition and I am sure he would have found a moment or two to say goodbye to his family; however, he put saying goodbye as a condition to his following Jesus. In what ways do we put conditions on our commitment?

Today, be challenged to remove all conditions to following Christ. Remember, Christ Jesus is Lord of all and one day, “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father”  (Philippians 2:10-11, NLT). Be committed to Christ and put him first in all that you say and do.

“The more we make our lives about us, then the more we waste our time. When we get older, we devote our lives to ourselves, and then we wasted it. If we want to devote our lives to something significant, something that matters, then we should devote our lives to the Lord Jesus.” – Trip Lee

“Great and glorious God, and Thou Lord Jesus, I pray you shed abroad your light in the darkness of my mind. Be found of me, Lord, so that in all things I may act only in accordance with Thy holy will. Amen” – Francis of Assisi

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