Grace and peace to you.
After Jesus resolutely set his face toward Jerusalem there are four encounters in the Gospel of Luke (chap 9:52-62) where people do not choose to be part of what Jesus is about.
Samaritans in a village choose not to welcome him because he is heading for Jerusalem.
A man says he will follow Jesus where ever he goes. Jesus reminds him that he has no place to call home.
A man says he will follow Jesus, but must bury his father first. Jesus says “let the dead bury their own dead.”
Another says “let me say good bye to my family.” Jesus says, “No one who looks back is fit for service in the kingdom.”
These encounters remind us that not everyone is ready or willing to follow Jesus. We sometimes forget that. Jesus is very clear that people follow him or they don’t. Everyone has excuses but at some point in time, we have to decide.
I am sure that all of us have made our own excuses from time to time…reasons why we couldn’t do the hard thing of discipleship. Maybe we wanted to hold on to that anger instead of forgiving. Maybe we preferred the juicy gossip rather than holding our tongue. Maybe we didn’t turn the other cheek because we might look like a fool, or succumbed to the temptation because it felt good, or chose our own selfish desires at the expense of serving another.
These texts remind us that following Jesus is hard. It is not easy. It asks for decisions every day, sometimes every hour of our life.
The church season of Lent is a stark reminder of this truth.
We don’t have to get hung up on it…but we do need to recognize it.
Maybe one of the things we could give up this Lent are excuses. This one thing could lead us into a much deeper relationship with Jesus and those around us.
Think for a moment what has been your most frequent excuse for not following Jesus…or living the way He calls you to live.
Why does it keep coming up? What would happen if you stopped using that excuse and followed through?
God bless you richly this day as you join the revolutionary band of Jesus followers.