“As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58 Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” 59 He said to another man, “Follow me.” But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” 60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” 61 Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.” 62 Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” Luke 9.57-62
What is the cost of following Jesus? In this interchange, Jesus asks one person to follow him while two others say they will follow. In each instance, there is a complication with the cost of being a disciple.
The first person says, I am sure, with great conviction, “I will follow you where you go.” What a large and broad sweeping statement. “Where you go…” Even to prison? To Hell? To death? Was the man being overly anxious? Was he caught up in the moment? Was he ‘filled with the Spirit’ or rather being highly emotional? Jesus isn’t convinced with his plea because he retorts, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” Meaning, while Jesus was on earth he was without rest.
With the second man, Jesus is the instigator— “Follow me,” he said. But this man replies, “Lord, first let me go bury my father.” Jesus said, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Some might think this insensitive but was the man’s father even dead? Or would he be waiting for his fathers death for years to come, managing the family business, holding out for his inheritance? The delay tactic is obvious — when Jesus asks the man to follow the excuse is clear.
Finally, the third man said to Jesus, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.” Now this is not such a bad request is it? It doesn’t seem to be unreasonable. But Jesus replied, “No one who put a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the service in the Kingdom of God.” Meaning, if you are plowing, don’t look behind you or your rows will not be straight and you will mess up the whole field. This is the point where distraction, lack of focus, and love of other things keeps one from being a disciple.
Jesus knew it would not be easy to follow him. He understood we would find all kings of excuses in not taking up our cross daily. The cost of following is high, the sacrifice long, the suffering wide. But the rewards of walking in step with Jesus and helping fulfill the great commission are huge.
Won’t you consider following Jesus? Set your heart and your eyes on the things of God. Let not your heart be troubled with the worries of this world. Allow Jesus to steer your course and set your soul aflame with his love.
“O Lord God, you are good. I have moments in which I doubt my discipleship. I confess my desire for the things of this world. I horde my time, my energy, my resources, my love. Help me open my hands to your direction. To place my care in the same Christ who spilled blood so I might have abundant life today and eternal life to come. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen