Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
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Would-be. Divided. Half-hearted. Distracted. Lukewarm.
If you’re a Christian, you never want one of those words used to describe you. You don’t want to be a would-be disciple; you want to be a disciple. You don’t want to be divided; you want to be single-minded. You don’t want half your heart involved in your relationship with Jesus; you want a whole-hearted relationship. You don’t want to be distracted; you want to be focused. And lukewarm? That’s not our goal. We want to be on fire for the Lord.
In this story, it seems that the man is not asking an unreasonable request. Saying good-bye to friends and loved ones doesn’t seem bad. But sometimes our thoughts and concerns can be full of good things, but good things that crowd out our allegiance to Christ.
We want to have a devotional time every morning, but we’re trying to start every day with a clean kitchen, so the dishwasher needs emptying and the sink needs a good scrubbing. There’s a load of laundry that really should be put in the washer before you sit down. But then a friend calls and she’s upset. Isn’t it good that you let her vent, and then offer some advice, and end with a prayer? Then it’s time to put that roast in the crock pot …
How many obstacles stand between a would-be disciple and Jesus? Countless. There’s our culture, which will ridicule our devotion. There’s our flesh, which chafes at correction. There are our passions, and preferences, and weaknesses. There’s temptation around every corner. And there’s a sink that needs scrubbing, and pile of laundry. Distractions don’t have to be evil in order to be succeed at pushing God down our list of priorities. Even good things can wriggle their way between us and our Savior. Let’s fight that.