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Not Right Now

Luke 9:57  As they were going along the road, someone said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go." 58  And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head." 59  To another he said, "Follow me." But he said, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father." 60  But Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God." 61  Another said, "I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home." 62  Jesus said to him, "No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God."

These verses are found within a larger context. Earlier in this chapter we see that the 12 disciples of Jesus were far from the ideal, and that Jesus is involved in correcting some of his disciples shortcomings: they failed to cope with a demon possessed boy; they were arguing amongst themselves about who was the better disciple; and they wanted to burn down a Samaritan town rather than bring the Gospel to them. The beginning of the next chapter is all about disciples going out on a field trip to put into practice the things they have learned. The verses above lie between the correction of discipleship training, and the sending out of disciples. They are verses that warn against getting distracted from the ‘core business’ following Jesus.   

Here are people who want to follow Jesus – but not right now: “Let me wait until my father has died and I have buried him and then I will be free of my filial obligations and can to follow you / let me go home and get permission from my family to follow you, and then I will come.” The response of Jesus speaks to the stark reality of discipleship: "No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God." This does not negate our loyalty to family. Neither does this mean an avoidance of family responsibilities. But it does speak to the fact that family loyalty is not the first call on our lives. Tough as it is - everything else comes second to the call of Jesus!

For Thought

Here I am, Lord. It is I Lord.
I have heard you calling in the night.
I will go, Lord, where you lead me.
I will hold your peo-ple in my heart.

Music & Lyrics by Dan Schutte Copyright 1981

The First Sunday in Lent

Preparation  for Ministry

The Scripture passage for the day is drawn from Reuben Job and Norman Shawchuck, A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and other Servants, (Nashville, The Upper Room 1983), 106.

This reflection is from my own devotional exercises for the day.   

“To comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable” Finley Peter Dunne (1867–1936)