Luke – Doors Wide Open!
What are you following at the moment? Maybe it’s a who. Maybe it’s a band, a cause, or a celebrity. Who or what monopolizes your thinking right now? This who or what has your complete attention and focus, doesn’t it? All you see or think about as you go to work each day are others who have already gained possession of it or are personally involved in a relationship with the person you are trying to follow. You begin to notice billboards about it or who. You are jealous, you also want that relationship or possession of it or who.
Following is an adventure as well as an education because what or whom we are following demands our full attention as we research and learn more about it or who. We think that the more we know the closer we will get to having it or belonging to the person or group. So we read all we can, ask others what they know and ponder the cost of having it or following the person/group. We are on our way to owning it. Or so we think.
Consider this. Products are marketed in ways to command a “following”. Following is used as a noun to describe a group of supporters and dedicated admirers. “New on the market” products need a world-wide following to thrive and continue. A successful business person knows that marketing should command the greater part of the budget because without a “following”, it will not survive for long. A following is a group of people who will religiously buy the product without considering any other alternatives.
There is a cost in following. There is a cost to follow. Jesus makes it clear that to follow Him, you must consider the cost. He doesn’t NEED us to do His work. If fact, He doesn’t want us to do His work as a way to “pay Him back” or earn a place in His Kingdom. He calls us to first put all our focus on Him, love Him back, grow in His characteristics, ready to do what He asks willingly from a deep love for Him. Jesus wants us to know He knows what is best.
Jesus invites us to His work when we are willing to follow, to leave the world behind us, with His cross before us. He wants us to know what we are in for as we leave what the world has to offer, to follow Him. There is a cost. We will leave those who do not follow Jesus. We leave what is comfortable. We leave what others want us to be and do. But there is also the reward of eternal peace and unspeakable joy as we put our complete focus, faith, trust and attention on Him. It a peace that the world will never be able to deliver. It is an eternal joy, coupled with hope, that brings us through all the storms of life. It is Jesus. Only Jesus. It is knowing where we are going and to whom will greet us when you get there. Jesus. Only Jesus.
Luke 9, New Living Translation
Opposition from Samaritans
51 As the time drew near for him to ascend to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. 52 He sent messengers ahead to a Samaritan village to prepare for his arrival. 53 But the people of the village did not welcome Jesus because he was on his way to Jerusalem. 54 When James and John saw this, they said to Jesus, “Lord, should we call down fire from heaven to burn them up?” 55 But Jesus turned and rebuked them. 56 So they went on to another village.
The Cost of Following Jesus
57 As they were walking along, someone said to Jesus, “I will follow you wherever you go.”
58 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.”
59 He said to another person, “Come, follow me.”
The man agreed, but he said, “Lord, first let me return home and bury my father.”
60 But Jesus told him, “Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead! Your duty is to go and preach about the Kingdom of God.”
61 Another said, “Yes, Lord, I will follow you, but first let me say good-bye to my family.”
62 But Jesus told him, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.”
Dear Heavenly Father, Lord and Savior,
You are God and we are not. You know what is best for each one of us. You did not create us to be puppets but to be fully attentive lovers of You, seeking to please only You, following you wherever you lead, knowing You will provide for all needs along the way. Thank you Jesus for inviting us to your adventures while Your Holy Spirit comforts our fear, corrects our course, and commands the right paths along the journey of following you. I am a follower. I am your servant. I love you heart, mind and soul. Guide me on…
In Jesus Name, Amen.