Summary: Real discipleship is demanding. It takes a lot for a spur-of-the-moment impulse to become a lifetime commitment to following Christ.
Title: No Ifs, Ands or Buts!
Text: Luke 9:59-62
Thesis: Real discipleship is demanding… it takes a lot for a spur-of-the-moment impulse to become a lifetime commitment.
I mentioned last week that author, Eric Weiner, described himself as a “Confusionist” when it came to matters of religion and faith. He, like Sergeant Schultz of the old Hogan’s Heroes series, could honestly say, “I know nothing!” So he set out in a series of what he called “Flirtations with the Divine” to find his God. (Eric Weiner, Man Seeks God, Twelve, Introduction)
I know there are many things that weigh on a person’s mind when we choose a religion or embrace a faith… choosing a faith is in and of itself an act of faith.
But certainly these three questions figure into our choosing:
1. Where do we come from?
2. What happens when we die?
3. How should we live our lives?
So with those basic needs in mind a “Confusionist” might set out to see what faith best speaks to those questions best.
Eric Weiner assumed that people do not find all gods equally appealing just as people do not find all potential mates equally appealing. If you think like that you might assume that a flirtatious encounter is a safe way to see if there is any chemistry, so to speak, between you and a potential god. Seemingly he thought he could have something of a brief encounter with a religion and from that little flirtation decide if he had a future with that god or not…
Then he discovered what we call “The Rational Choice Theory.” The Rational Choice Theory suggests that we choose our religion in much the same way we choose a car.
I’ve been having a love affair with the new Fiat 500 Abarth Turbo Cabrio. It’s turbo-charged, has a performances suspension, high-back performance bucket seats with a racing harness, dual exhausts, 16” performance wheels, 5 speed transmission, and 7 air bags. Those are just some of the benefits!
In The Rational Choice Theory you weigh the benefits against the costs. And when I consider the costs of the Fiat 500 Abarth Turbo Cabrio – I don’t care! I still want one! But if I were making a rational choice I would have to say $28,000 is too much and the fact that I can’t get into it or out of it pretty much eliminates the Fiat 500 Abarth Turbo Cabrio for me.
In our text last week the enthusiast who waved his hand wildly in the air volunteering to follow Jesus anywhere soon learned that while there are certainly benefits to following Jesus, there are also costs.
He learned that if he wished to follow Jesus he had to understand that in order to engage people with the love of God in Christ; he could not do that from the safety and security of his cocooned, home environment.
The two men in our text today, as are we, confronted with the challenge of The Rational Choice Theory to not only consider the benefits but the costs of following Jesus as well.
I. The Crucial Moment, Luke 9:59-60
Jesus said to another person, “Come, and follow me.” The man agreed, but he said, “Lord, first let me return home and bury my father.” Luke 9:59
In our first scenario today Jesus invited another man who was walking with him along the way to become a Christ follower. Our text says, the man agreed, but he said, “Lord, first let me return home to bury my father.”
In my way of thinking this is a fairly reasonable request… We have buried my father. We have buried a son. We have buried Bonnie’s mother. Would Jesus have us call the mortuary and inform our relatives that they could do whatever they needed to do but we had more important things to do than grieve for and care for our deceased loved ones?
Surely Jesus was not a hypocrite. When he learned that his friend Lazarus was sick he went to Bethany. But Lazarus died before he could get there and the bible says, “Jesus wept.”
So what did Jesus mean when he said to the man who wished to go home and bury his father before he began to follow Jesus, “Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead! Your duty is to go and preach about the Kingdom of God.” Luke 9:60
Commentators tell us that it is unlikely that the man’s father was dead. In that culture a son had a responsibility or obligation to his father until his father died. What he likely said and what Jesus likely heard the man say was, “I want to follow you but first I need to go home and work and wait until my father dies… then I will come and follow you.”