As they were walking along, someone said to Jesus, “I will follow you wherever you go.”
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.”
He said to another person, “Come, follow me.”
The man agreed, but he said, “Lord, first let me return home and bury my father.”
But Jesus told him, “Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead! Your duty is to go and preach about the Kingdom of God.”
Another said, “Yes, Lord, I will follow you, but first let me say good-bye to my family.”
But Jesus told him, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:57-62)
Through this account Jesus was proclaiming that true discipleship requires instant action. Luke does not tell us whether the father is already dead or whether he’s terminally ill. It seems likely that if the father were dead, the son would have been fulfilling the burial duties. Jesus did not teach people to forsake responsibilities to family, but he often gave commands to people in light of their real motives. Perhaps this man wanted to delay following Jesus and used his father as an excuse.
There is a cost to following Jesus, and each of us must be ready to serve, even when it requires sacrifice. What does Jesus want from us? Total dedication, not halfhearted commitment. His life shows his utter commitment to the Father’s plan. With that in mind, we can’t choose among Jesus’ ideas and follow him selectively; we have to accept the cross along with the crown, judgment as well as mercy. We must count the cost and be willing to abandon everything else that has given us security. With our focus on Jesus, we should allow nothing to distract us from the manner of living that he calls good and true.
Some fear following Jesus, believing the lifestyle too stressful or the cost too high, especially since persecution is one of the costs. At what cost are you willing to follow Jesus? What do you imagine you have to do or give up? Why? If you lack the courage, but long for the boldness to follow him, God can provide the way.