57 As they were traveling on the road someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58 Jesus told him, “Foxes have dens, and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” 59 Then he said to another, “Follow me.” “Lord,” he said, “first let me go bury my father.” 60 But he told him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and spread the news of the kingdom of God.” 61 Another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but first let me go and say good-bye to those at my house.” 62 But Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” — Luke 9:57-62
No Ifs, Ands, or Buts…
by Andy Beal
Station Hill Campus
Why do we attempt to add stipulations to our willingness to follow Jesus?
“Jesus, I’ll follow You anywhere...BUT there.”
“Jesus, I’ll do that...IF You’ll do this.”
“Jesus, I’m so glad following You means Your presence is with me...AND I’ll have plenty of earthly wealth?”
Many of us hear the gospel and understand the love, grace, and mercy of God toward us through Jesus Christ, and we immediately feel compelled to follow Him. But when we begin to understand the cost of following Him, we hesitate. “Wait. What does following Jesus mean, and what can it cost me?” In the process of discovering the answers to these questions, we begin to bargain with Jesus in light of the call we receive from Him.
Why do we do this? Ultimately, I believe our hesitancy results from a lack of fully understanding just how loving God is toward us. Sometimes we view passages like this through a negative lens. We make the call to follow Jesus feel like joining the Navy S.E.A.L.S., and if you’re not strong enough, then Jesus doesn’t want you on His team. Because of this mindset, I believe many read passages like this, turn away, and miss God’s plan for their lives.
Don’t hear me saying there is no cost to following Jesus or that it is an easy call. But I suggest that if we begin to grasp the love of Jesus for us and His power to provide for us throughout the difficult days of following Him, then the overwhelming nature of this call seems to diminish. It becomes more attainable—not because I am strong enough to endure it, but because I have begun to understand the love and power of my Savior as I follow Him. And being WITH Him makes it worth the cost.
As you come across passages like this that seem impossibly difficult, realize that’s the point. Jesus, in His love for us, wants us to know that His love and provision and plan for our lives is so much better than anything else we would attempt to place ahead of Him. When we see this clearly, the call to follow Jesus makes total sense...no ifs, ands, or buts.
- How have passages like Luke 9:57-62 created doubts about your ability to meet the standard of being a follower of Jesus? Is that what you believe Jesus intended by His words?
- How does a deeper understanding of the love and provision of Jesus for you provide freedom to answer the call to follow?
- What is holding you back from answering His call?
- Take some time today and consider how the love of Jesus in light of difficulties can provide strength as you follow Him.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible® and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.