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The Challenge of Following Jesus

February 24, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

“. . . one of the fundamental spiritual facts of the universe, all of life happens in the present moment.” Gary Moon, Apprenticeship with Jesus 210

Amazed this morning by the statements about following Jesus in Luke 9:57-62.  The first man says “I will follow you,” Jesus tells the second man, “Follow me” and finally the third man says, I will follow you.”

Passages opens up to me as follows:

Be prepared to follow Jesus 57-58
but
Don’t make excuses for not following Jesus 59-60
and
Don’t get distracted once you start following Jesus 61-62

 

Be prepared to follow Jesus 57-58

I love what the first man says, “I will follow you wherever you go.”  Reminds me of an OMF book in which the author says we are to follow Jesus “wherever, whenever, however.” Interesting what Jesus says to the man, “Foxes have holes . . .” Is Jesus saying here to the man, “That is great but I want you to know that it is going to be hard. I want you to count the cost.  It will be lonely and you may be isolated.  Jesus spoke about counting the cost in a parallel passage about following him in Luke 14:28-32. Jesus tells us, “You don’t want to start to build a tower and not be able to finish or to go to war and not be able to win.”

Don’t make excuses for not following Jesus 59-60

I don’t fully understand what is going on about the burying the dead—have read a number of possibilities which are interesting.  But, the bottom line, Jesus is saying, “Don’t make excuses for not following me.” Excuses abound. Here are just a few of the excuses I have heard about why people are not a missionary.  Perhaps a better way to say this—why people are not living a missional life. I could never do that. I am not called. I don’t want to raise support. Maybe I will be a missionary when I retire, when my kids are out of college, when I get married. Bottom line: we will never be ready. Seems like it contradicts the first point doesn’t it? Sorry, I can’t help you with that.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think everyone should be a missionary. But we all should live missionally. Each of us needs to follow Jesus in the unique way he has gifted and called us. Jesus made it pretty simple in verse 59, “Go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”

Don’t get distracted once you start following Jesus 61-62

I really don’t like that little word “fit” in verse 62. It is the greek word euthetos, which means “suitable” or “useful.” It is only used three times, here and in Luke 14:35 and in Hebrews 6:7. When we are distracted, it renders us not useful for the kingdom—ouch! There are so many distractions that arise as we begin to follow Jesus. Some of the hardest words Jesus gives are related to our relationships with family members if we are going to follow him—see Mtt 19:29, Mk 10:29,30; Lk 14:26, Luke 21:16).  Being back in America it seems a lot of distractions seem to revolve around money and work– retirement, job security, career advancement and family issues.  I am not immune to these and a myriad of other distractions and am affected and convicted by these verses. To be honest, each time I am back in the U.S. for a length of time, I have a crisis in which God shows me how I am being distracted by stuff here and give me the grace to say, I don’t need it.  Depending on Him to do that once again.

Which of the statements above speaks to you today?

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