(Part 184)


June 26, 2016

Today’s gospel:  Luke 9:51-62

As Christians, we are supposed to be disciples, that is, followers of Jesus. Jesus has given us the call: “Follow me” (v.59a). But there are many obstacles, foremost of which would be comfort and family. Not that looking to comfort at times and looking to family all the time are not good. They most certainly are. But they can indeed come in the way of discipleship if we are not careful.

And so Jesus states the ideal of true discipleship. One would-be disciple was enthusiastic. “I will follow you wherever you go.” (v.57). Oh yeah? Do you know the cost? There will be hardships. In fact, it will be defined by hardships. “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.” (v.58). Like Master, like disciple. Those who look to comfort and convenience and pleasures need not apply.

Another wanted to take care of his father first before going off to follow Jesus. “Lord, let me go first and bury my father.” (v.59b). Very noble indeed. But the mission is urgent. And it is a priority. So Jesus told him, “Let the dead bury their dead. But you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” (v.60). There will always be those who will take care of familial needs, but the workers for the harvest are few. If you are called, respond right away.

Still another wanted first to have his goodbyes, possibly his last hurrah of parties. “I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say farewell to my family at home.” (v.61). Not entirely unreasonable. After all, one might have to give those pleasures up. But if one has to have a last fling, then one is at risk of not being able to entirely cut off his earthly desires and pleasures, to be able to give all to God. “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God.” (v.62). When times go hard, regrets will come, nostalgia will set in, resolve will weaken. Jesus says that once you have decided, then act immediately on it.

According to Jesus’ call, mission comes before personal comfort and even family. His work, priorities and agenda certainly before ours (we are not even to have our own). We must not neglect personal and family well-being of course, but we must know what is God’s priority.

Many are called, but few respond in the right way. Let us pray for more authentic disciples.

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Note: For further and deeper explanation of the call to discipleship, read my book “Following Christ.”

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