Summary: Priorities are important in life. We need to think critically about what our priorities should be and work to live them out.
I want to start off tonight by asking you guys to get into pairs and discuss the following question. “What are the top five priorities in my life?”
***Take a few minutes to share responses with the large group***
This issue of what are our priorities is such an important question for all of us to consider as we think about our lives and our relationships with Christ. Would you guys agree or disagree with this comment: “A relationship with Jesus should change my priorities?”
***Let the youth respond***
Priorities were something that Jesus talked about on a number of occasions during his time on earth and tonight I want to spend some time looking at one particular conversation that is found in Luke 9:57-62. Within these verses we have really three mini-conversations that are going on between Jesus and three different people. Let’s look at each one individually.
***Read Luke 9:57-58***
So, the first conversation we see is this guy comes up to Jesus as He and His disciples are walking and says, “I will follow you wherever you go.” I almost can see the guy puffing out his chest and saying it in a bold voice, almost bragging. Nonetheless, it was a great claim, one that churches all over the world want people to make. Basically, this is the “I choose to accept Jesus into my heart” line that you hear so often in churches. So, this is a great thing, right? Jesus should be overjoyed and excited. Well, His response seems anything but that.
“But Jesus replied, ‘Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay his head.’” What kind of an answer is that? Jesus has a habit of doing this sometimes. Someone will say something to him or ask him a question and he will respond with something that doesn’t quit make sense. Does anyone have any ideas about Jesus is talking about and what it can show us about priorities?
I think what Jesus is referring to as he responds to the first man is, in essence, setting priorities and living priorities are two different things. Jesus is saying, “That’s great that you are going to follow me wherever I go. That’s great that you are making me your top priority but here is what it will mean for your life. Following Me isn’t easy.”
There is this perception out there that to be a “Christian” means that you said a little prayer at some point in life, you go to church fairly regularly, and that, overall, you are a good person. Pretty easy, right? Well, Jesus I think is speaking against that attitude and trying to make the point that following Him is a counter-cultural, lifestyle that Jesus asks us to take on as we follow him. In Luke 9:23, Jesus said this about following Him, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me.”
When it comes to priorities, it is one thing to say, “God is my number one priority in my life,” and a whole separate issue to really live it. Priorities are hard work. I can say that my wife is my second priority in life, but living it is a whole different animal. You can say school is a top priority but what does your life actually say about that. With this in mind, take a couple of seconds to think about your life and where you spend your time. When we take a look at our time spent, it will show us the priorities that we are living by.
***Read Luke 9:59-60***
So, moving on to the second conversation, this one is a little different because Jesus initiates it this time. He says to another person, maybe they were just walking by or something, “Come, follow me.” The man thinks about it for a second and then says sure and adds, “Lord, first let me return home and bury my father.” Generally, there are two options that most people look at to understand what this guy was talking about. The first obvious choice is that his father was getting older or maybe even ill and nearing death. So, in other words, he was saying, “Let my father die first, then I will come follow you.” The second option was that the father had just died and the man was fulfilling cultural burial duties which was a process of mourning, a funeral, and burial. Either of these seem perfectly legit to us but Jesus responds again with what seems like a really harsh response. “Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead! Your duty is to go and preach about the Kingdom of God.” What is Jesus saying? What is he getting at?