This week’s money and stewardship devotional from the four Gospels* is from Luke 9:57-63; is the cost of following Jesus.
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.”
Jesus did a lot of walking. Today, we drive cars or ride public transportation to quickly get where we are going. Jesus was on a journey from one town to the next, as it seemed he was doing most of his ministry days. Telling him to wait while you went to take care of personal affairs would be a little hard, because Jesus didn’t have a house he was headed to. He wasn’t operating out of a particular operations center or worship facility. Jesus was on the go. Planning a trip can be complicated; there is the business of getting your affairs in order before departure, planning the finances for your home while you are away, finding someone to take care of the pets. Planning flights, hotels, car rental and food can make travel costly and stressful. Imagine following Jesus in this day and age, leaving it all behind at the drop of a hat–funerals to attend to, inheritances to procure, family and friends to say goodbye to, no Cell phones or Facebook to stay in touch. To be an apostle in those days carried quite a cost.
Following Jesus today, we often do it with deliberation. We consider what Jesus might be saying to our heart, where he might be calling us, who we should be helping, checks he wants us to write. Do we say, “Interesting, I’ll think about that later, but right now my favorite TV program is on”?
However, Jesus is talking more seriously here, isn’t he? People were considering if they should follow him on HIS journey, and go his way, at whatever the cost to their personal lives. Jesus said those who wanted to contemplate the cost–the ramifications to life for quite a while–were not worthy of the Kingdom of God. That is a pretty serious consequence. These were people that probably not only wanted to put their houses in order, but also wanted to really think about the decision, perhaps even float it by their non-believing friends and relatives.
To consider the cost of ventures is okay; to plan one’s affairs accordingly makes sense. However, to live our lives following Jesus, yet fail to respond to his call on a daily basis to do this or that, and to weigh his will against our wants, our finances, or what it is going to mean to our friends and family is not good, not good at all, entirely not suitable to the character of Christ that he wants for us, and for the Kingdom.
The decision to follow Christ must have a cost. We are fooling ourselves if we think that it might not cost us a lot of money in terms of career choices, money given, friends and family that might not like us as much if we are radical followers of Christ. It might cost us dreams we have for ourselves as we give them over to what his dreams are. Following Jesus must have a cost. Salvation is free, something we get without making payments. Living a life with him today has a payoff in joy and peace that is more mind blowing than anything the world can promise and deliver on, free gifts because Jesus loves us. There is cost, a consequence to following Jesus on his path; however, as eternal citizens of God’s kingdom, we will be richly rewarded.
*A chronological examination of any verse that involves money and stewardship, attempting to see the new light that Jesus shines on money in His ‘for-us’ but selfless, grace filled, Holy Spirit empowered, and Kingdom oriented positions. This is the thirty fourth post in this series.