And He said to another, "Follow Me." But he said, "Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father." But He said to him, "Allow the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim everywhere the kingdom of God." (Luke 9:59-60 NASB)
We are continuing the lesson on the cost of discipleship. In the previous lesson, one who volunteered as a disciple, pledging to follow Christ anywhere, was told that he could not expect a life of comfort with Jesus. Instead, he could expect a hard and difficult time, and needed to count the cost.
In the present example, Jesus called this man to discipleship. He had an elderly father at home and requested a delay. He had good intentions of following Jesus eventually, but needed to care for his aging father until he died. Jesus was firm. The call to follow Him is a now call. We are not to delay until a more opportune time, but are to obey now. It is also a matter of priority. God was very clear about our responsibilities to our parents, however nothing is to take precedence over Him.
The call of Christ is a present call, a priority call, and a persistent call. We are to obey and not stop. The man was called to be an evangelist, yet he wanted to wait until a more convenient time. Jesus pressed him. He was to "get going and keep going".
It was, finally, a pervasive call. This man was to share the gospel "everywhere". As he went, he was to tell the good news of Jesus.
There is a tendency to look down on this man who was at a critical juncture and struggling with the call of God upon his life. He had a difficult choice to make, and perhaps we, too, would struggle. In fact, we likely struggle with the same issues on a smaller basis.
Do we respond quickly to the call of God or want to wait for a more opportune time? Do we make obedience to God our number one priority or does obedience take a back seat to family responsibilities? Are we willing to consistently obey, making a change in life style that is permanent? Do we share the good news of Jesus with every one we meet?
Obedience to the call of God is a frightening and often daunting task. Without the help of the Spirit, none among us could do it. Empowered by the Spirit, however, that costly discipleship brings with it an abundant supply of love, joy, and peace.
Following Jesus. It costs everything, but brings back more blessing than we can imagine or receive. Follow, dear ones, and don't look back.
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