Summary: Jesus specifically targets, in this passage, the excuses we might use to give half-effort when being His disciple.
INTRODUCTION… THINGS YOU SHOULD NOT DO HALF-WAY (P)
There are somethings in life that we should never do half-way. Most things in life we should give our best effort, persevere, and see to completion.
Giving half-effort while swimming means that you drown and die.
Giving half-effort when running away from a wild bear results in you being eaten.
Giving half-effort when walking I believe is called “tripping” and you can get hurt and never get where you are going.
Doing a test in school only half-way means you get 50% or lower which is an F, failing grade.
Wearing only half your clothes means the other half of you is naked which no one wants to see.
Wearing half of your shoes makes for an awkward day with you hobbling along.
Only working half the amount of hours you should means you will get fired.
Washing only half your body means you stink.
There are of course more serious things that we should never do half-way, but that list will get us thinking. There are some things in life that we should never do half-way because the normal thought is that “you finish what you start.” The normal thought is that when doing something, we should give “our best effort” all the time. A normal attitude in sports, board games, fund raising opportunities, and working is that we finish what we start and give our utmost while doing it. At least that seems normal to me.
This morning we are going to continue to look at Discipleship. The word “discipleship” simply means “following Christ.” “Discipleship” means (a more complicated definition) the process by which someone grows in faith and practice in Christ and is equipped by the Holy Spirit to live life faithfully to Him. The passage that we are going to dig into this morning is Luke 9:57-62 where we will see that Jesus is calling us to full lifetime effort with Him when it comes to following Him as a disciple. Jesus specifically targets, in this passage, the excuses we might use to give half-effort when being His disciple.
READ Luke 9:57-62
“As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go." 58 Jesus replied, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head." 59 He said to another man, "Follow me." But the man 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 good-by to my family." 62 Jesus replied, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God."
In this passage, just like the passage we looked at last week (Luke 14:25-35), people are following Jesus form town to town and they want to be His disciple. They see Him heal the sick and drive out demons and they want to be close to this miracle working man. They hear His parables which confound them and push them towards God and they want to be near this wise teacher who teaches and preaches about God. In our passage, Jesus encounters three different people who want to half-way follow Him.
THREE EXCUSES IN THE SCRIPTURE
First, we have a guy (verse 57) come to Jesus and he claims to want to follow Jesus “wherever He goes.” Those are the actual words the fellow uses. Being a Christian is following Jesus in all things and wherever Jesus leads. Jesus replies to this first man that following Him is not always easy. Specifically, Jesus points out that Jesus’ travels are non-stop and they don’t call anywhere home. There are no breaks. Jesus and His disciples spend day and night traveling and teaching and ministering to growing crowds of people. I think Jesus divinely looks into the heart of this man and knows that constantly following him is not something he can do or is actually willing to do. The man wants comforts. At this time, Jesus doesn’t have that.
So, the first excuse given not to follow Jesus in this Scripture is that following Jesus was tough, not what the person expected, and so he opted out.
Second, we have another man (verse 59) who comes and Jesus gives him the same command He gave His disciples. When Jesus gave the command “follow me” (Matthew 4:18, Mark 1:17) to some fishermen, Peter, Andrew, James, and John dropped their nets and followed Jesus full-time. When Jesus gave the command “follow me” to Matthew the tax collector (Matthew 9:9, Mark 2:14, Luke 5:27), Matthew left his life of tax collecting and followed Jesus full-time. When Jesus told the rich young ruler “follow me” (Matthew 19:21, Mark 10:21, Luke 18:22), he did not because he did not want to give up his wealth and had other priorities. Jesus told Philip “follow me” (John 1:43) and not only did he follow Jesus full-time, but he went and found his friend Nathanael who also followed Jesus.