57 As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58 Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” 59 He said to another man, “Follow me.” But he 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 goodbye to my family.” 62 Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”
I’ve often read this passage and thought Jesus sounded harsh – surely the second man could have buried his father first and then followed Jesus? Or the third man could have said goodbye to his family before following Jesus?
But Jesus is calling us to respond ‘yes’ to His call, NOT ‘yes, but first…’ There are times when my son asks me to play cars with him and I say ‘yes, but first let me put this load of washing out, or finish this text message, or have a shower’. But often one thing leads to another (for example I notice the dirty dishes on the way to the laundry!) and I’m sad to say that sometimes I never actually get to the cars.
There is ALWAYS more to do in life. There are always good things we have on our list to do. But if Jesus is asking something of us, whether it be to pray or to act or to simply to sit before Him, our answer cannot be ‘yes, but first’, it has to be ‘yes’. This will involve costs, but the God who is asking this of us is no stranger to cost. Jesus paid the ultimate cost because He wanted us for eternity. What cost could compare?
Written by Rhi Mellor