Summary: Above all, being a Christian requires us to make discipleship our highest priority.
I must confess that not too many billboards catch my attention enough to want to read them. However, one finally did capture it and greatly warmed my heart. It was a recruiting poster for the Marine Corps.
On the plaqured, it simply said, “We don’t take applications, only commitments.”I have heard it said that you don’t “join” the Marines. You become a Marine. I think this is a biblical principle we find in our Scripture today.
Jesus is asking for full time commitment. Jesus expects us to put all we have into being his disciple. We must be sold out to Jesus. Our focus, commitment and every effort towards following Jesus must be a priority.
He is not asking us to be silly and foolishly abandon and ignore all other things in our life for his sake. Doing that would be totally absurd and would make Jesus out to be harsh and unloving. What he means is all things must “pale in comparison” to our service for him.
He makes a similar statement in reference to the cost of discipleship in Luke 14:26-27, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.”
Our allegiance to anything of this world must not surpass our allegiance, love, devotion, service, worship or obedience to that of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.
I believe this requirement ties into the first of the commandments given to us. Exodus 20:2-5a, “ I am the Lord your God…; you shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God….”
It takes spiritual discipline to put all the aspects of our spiritual and physical life into their proper order of priorities. The three people in our Scripture today didn’t quite do that and Jesus calls them on it.
The first person, in verse 57, tells Jesus that he will follow “wherever you go.” Jesus replies “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
Jesus is warning us that some of the cost of following him is facing rejection. Discipleship can be demanding and will require tenacity to stand firm when facing any form of persecution, hostility and rejection.
Jesus has warned us that not everyone will be as accepting or polite when we profess our faith or try to invite them into a relationship with Jesus. We must be prepared to endure this from all directions such as our family, at work, in the media, and even at church.
Then there was the second man in verse 60 wanted to go bury his family member first. The fact does not depend on whether his father is dead or will die in the next 10-20 years, the point is “even the best excuse” we can come up with is still cannot supersede our commitment or get in the way of our commitments to discipleship.
I believe we should take each and every opportunity as it presents itself and weigh it in light of what is going on in our life. God grants us common sense to know when to proceed or to reschedule events and other obligations with our school, job, family and hobbies in order to maximize the greatest opportunity to share and serve.
The bottom line is that we should be prepared to proclaim the Gospel and share the beautiful message of what Christ has done in our lives. That’s the best story we can share and we must proclaim the Good news.
2 Timothy 4:2 tells us, “Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching.” Be prepared, be ready and don’t allow yourself to be caught off guard where you would have to come up with some type of excuse not to answer much like the man who wanted to bury his father.
The third man in verse 61states he wants to first go back home to say good-bye. Although it would seem like a legitimate concern for family, we see that it is actually a desire to hang on to his old way of life. He is clinging to his past and is not fully prepared to let completely go.
Luke 16:13, “No slave can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other.”