The Cost of Following Jesus
“Another also said, “I will follow You, Lord; but first permit me to say good-bye to those at home.” But Jesus said to him, “No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” Luke 9: 61, 62 NIV
And Jesus said to him, “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”And He said to another, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.” But He said to him, “Allow the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you , go and proclaim everywhere the kingdom of God.”
I will follow you, Lord, wherever you go.” Luke 9:57 Will I?
Have I ever made an excuse as to why I could not go and proclaim the Kingdom of God everywhere? When I grow up? When I win the lottery? When my kids grow up? Now college bills? Now grands? Now retirement? Now? Now? I wonder if the first excuse was all it took to hear “not fit.” I have heard it said in business, they don’t have the tools for the job. “A skill set….” Yet, many without skill set lands the best job because of attitude. Many times a skilled set of tools come with being on the job and learning. Nothing to it with a wiliness. Jesus sure understood people with attitudinize. And, replied, “not fit”….someone else landed the job! Now, you go and take care of yourself and your things and spend your money for a summer fling. Make sure you look as good as you can and buy yourself some new clothes. I don’t know any excuse makers, do you? Would someone tell me what was and is wrong with Jesus’ way of thinking? Or, have I misunderstood?
19 thoughts on “Excuse Makers”
” Would someone tell me what was and is wrong with Jesus’ way of thinking? Or, have I misunderstood? ”
No, I don’t think you misunderstood. What you present above says to me that Jesus has a score card and we are competing for a prize and if I get a low score then I don’t qualify to go to the next round.
No plowing, no harvest. Misplaced priorities disqualifies. My excuses won’t change Jesus mind.
” Nothing to it with a wiliness.” This sounds like ONLY ” IF you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land;”
These are some sobering realities of sin to face.
Debi, your ideas and thoughts make me think of farming/gardening and Farmers Almanac. Get your seeds/plants in ground at the most optimum time or possible no crop for the year. Jesus walked among the people as a storyteller and allowing the mind and heart to open like a flower and give many joy with its bloom or at times open and drop its head before the bloom.
“or at times open and drop its head before the bloom.”
It is so sad when a flower drops its head before completing its bloom cycle. One of the saddest is when someone receives a bouquet of roses that are meant to express love or sympathy or encouragement and within a day, the heads have dropped and the sentiments are now anger, disappointment, disgust at such waste of someone’s money, effort, time; etc, etc.
Many times beauty is cut short is due to not being prepared properly. The handler, in a rush, does not take the time to cut the rose stems under water (only flower this needs to occur for). An air bubble enters the stem. Though there is plenty of water available to the stem, by the time it uptakes it and it reaches the flower head, it blocks entrance of the water right beneath it, resulting in a dropped head. Sometimes this can be remedied by puncturing that area with a pin to release the air, and then submerge it totally under water for awhile so it can rehydrate.
As I think on this process, I see an analogy to some sins in the life that rob beauty and completing one’s course as well as ministry to and for others: lack of preparedness, inattention to detail, haste, the hot air of pride.
Thanks for the “rose tutorial, Debi. Your analogy leads me to think on about this. The air bubble(s) in my case would seem to be ‘sins; distraction, negligence, inattention, lack of perseverance, lack of diligence, impatience, indifference, apathy…maybe not all at the same time….[ it would seem that I could EXCUSE myself with this]. However, one starts out with enthusiasm in seeking the Lord, as Sara said in the beginning of this blog, and the bloom is on the rose…but then comes the “air bubble” and the ‘project’ droops and all the good intentions go into the trash heap.
The comment above makes me ponder about, “ONLY IF you are willing and obedient you will eat the good of the land”. I have been reading about some godly issues concerning JUST doing our duty. The Word of God says in Luke 17:7-10
7 “Which of you, having a slave plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come immediately and sit down to eat’? 8″But will he not say to him, ‘Prepare something for me to eat, and properly clothe yourself and serve me while I eat and drink; and afterward you may eat and drink ‘?
9 “He does NOT thank the servant because he did the things which were commanded for him to do, does he?…”
Uh-oh. Here is the caveat. Verse 10 reads:”Even so on your part when you have done everything that was assigned and commanded for you to do….you will have to say….’We are unworthy servants, possessing no merit for we have NOT gone beyond our obligation but have merely done what was our duty to do.”
My biggest and most damaging excuses comes from not writing my thoughts and ideas in my journal for a future poem or other writing that might prove to be significant to others and/or myself. The thought comes from outside myself, what I believe to be the spirit or more interesting called The Ghost. At times when I receive the thought it will be so great in my mind that I proclaim I can easily remember that and I need to do an errand like drop a load of laundry in before I write. Oooops, where did the power thought go?
Your lament reminds me of the teaching you have given so vigorously many times in the ministry of the Word concerning “Ezekiel’s Wheel”. You have taught us that when the Wheel of the Spirit touches down with any thought, revelation, touch, inspiration….Jump on the Wheel. Don’t miss it because once it goes up without us we have missed that visitation. As we stand there crying out, “my Father, my Father” in disappointment.
It reminds me of myself in the Scripture,’Lord Lord!’ I’m over here doing your work, my work, the work I that I HAVE to do every day. See this laundry, Lord? See this pile of clothes that I am supposed to sort? See this paperwork for the insurance co.? See these bills I haven’t finished paying, yet? See this, Lord? I’ve got to do it. But… I am so fearful that He will reply to me,
‘Go ahead, do your clothes pile, do your bills, do the paper work. But as far as I’M concerned I DON’T KNOW YOU! Oh Lord, this is so scary. Scary enough to help me change my ways???
Anne Graham Lotz says in her presentation to the National Prayer Conf…..draw a tight circle around yourself (in the Spirit, I believe she meant)…Everything within that circle be wholly pure, dedicated to Jesus Christ and devoid of all earthly things.” [interpretation of what she was saying]
Jesus said unless one hates his father and mother and children…..he/she cannot enter the Kingdom.
Thanks Sara, for the wake up call. This helps me to see I am not kidding anyone but myself with my excuses. I had better answer the ‘call” quickly…by which I have been “called” lest the Lord Jesus Christ hangs up on me.
The Beauty of being one that hears the call of Jesus, follow me…..I read the following devotion this am and jumped with joy. I love this blog and it’s storytelling….it opens my heart to creativity.
JESUS SAID, “You did not choose me but I chose you” (John 15:16). This statement could ruffle some feathers because we always want to be the ones doing the choosing. Providing choices has become a marketable asset, from the supermarket’s staggering array of options to the infinite amount of choices we make each day concerning what we will eat, wear, and visit.
Inversely, not being chosen can have its negative sides. A humiliating childhood memory concerns recess when I was the last kid chosen for a team activity. Worse than being chosen last, I felt merely tolerated by my teammates.
Our desire to be chosen is why Gospel stories such as the parable of the ninety-nine sheep are so powerful for many of us. Jesus left all the rest and came looking for me! Amazing things happen when Jesus calls a person by name. To be named is to be called; to be called is to be chosen; to be chosen is to be claimed. When Peter, James, and John heard their names, each of them immediately abandoned what they were about, all that they had, and whom they had become. Jesus has this uncanny ability to make a person feel chosen.”
– W. Paul Jones
Becoming Who God Wants You to Be
Thoughts & emotions flare up as i read W. Paul Jones devotional that you have posted above. “Being chosen,” Hah! All my young life I strove to be liked, chosen, befriended. But according to the customs of the generation that I grew up in, being beautiful, pretty, good looking or chic all aced out any other qualities and or skills on the popularity scale in my high school. I, too, was last to be chosen on the teams although I was not a really bad softball player or tennis player. Didn’t matter. Not many wanted a monochromatic on their team…although our gym teacher insisted that every student had to participate on some team. I guess that saved me at the time. But I too was among the Last chosen. But there’s good news coming!!
So the wonder described above that Jesus Christ from before the beginning of time had me written down in the Lamb’s Book of Life to be CHOSEN, Chosen by the Father. I cannot even wrap my head around that one when I stop & truly meditate on it.
But praise God He did choose me,[ if I don’t blow it].
And here’s the GOOD NEWS for those of us who sat on the bench on that hockey/softball field and hoped and prayed that someone would ‘choose me, choose me’ to be on their team. Oh yes, Good & Great News from the Word of God. The first shall be last AND THE LAST SHALL BE FIRST. That’s a law of the Kingdom of God!
Interesting that the title of this blog is “Excuse Makers”…………. but when I think of facing my Heavenly Father, I will have no excuse.
Interestingly, at my church, we just finished the book of Ecclesiastes. I’d like to share a little here, from that book and some of the footnotes. Read with me: (NLT) Ecclesiastes 12: 13-14, “That’s the whole story. Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey His commands, for this is everyone’s duty. God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad.” Now, some of the footnotes for these verses: “All people will have to stand before God and be judged for what they have done in this life. We will not be able to use the inequities of life as an excuse for failing to live properly. We need to (1) recognize that human effort apart from God is futile; (2) put God first–now; (3) receive everything good as a gift from God; and (4) realize that God will judge every person’s life whether good or evil. How strange that people spend their lives striving for the joy that God gives freely.”
As far as “excuses” go……..I have to agree with Debi and MG, “these are some sobering realities of sin to face” “I am not kidding anyone but myself with my excuses. I had better answer the ‘call” quickly…by which I have been “called” lest the Lord Jesus Christ hangs up on me.”
I have a few mind-numbing thoughts on these comments…”God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad.” *Repentance doesn’t change the subject/action to be judged. Just the plus and minus’ signs. Maybe multiplication. My spiritless actions or words are computerized and by a click of a mighty divine finger they are retrieved. Idle Words? Yes for no and no for yes. Me, myself and mine?
I have heard many given the opportunity to talk things out and when conversation didn’t go the way they thought the would say, “oh forget it.” Or, the mouth would speak idle words or give knowingly wrong info. I heard a great lecture recently on “listen/read, think, focus, learn.” I starting making lists of non-thinking excuses that I have used and I hear people I speak with use. Monochromatic equals spiritless self life in my way of review.
*repentance not to be confused with salvation in this context
WOW T.H. That really confirms what Sara has written above that God is really talking to us about this particular thing.
Important that you pointed that out, Sara, [on your comment today.]
I “Write” therefore I may or MAY NOT be practicing what I am preaching in my comments.
In Ephesians 2:10 Paul writes that we are ‘created unto good works which the Lord has prepared for us… beforehand’… that I SHOULD WALK IN THEM, PRACTICE THEM & DO THEM. He said nothing about just talking (or writing) about them.
I am going through the book of Isaiah on BBN Bible Institute. It is amazing to me that Isaiah who was a prophet of God, having devotion to God, and obedience to the Lord God never had one convert. You would have thought he would have grown wearied and discouraged. No not Isaiah. He walked closely and obediently with the Lord. He gave many prophecies from God to the people which are yet to be fulfilled and as history has marched on these prophecies are coming true over time. He was obedient to the end. He is much read and quoted by biblical people, Jesus, and others. At the end of his life he was sawed into by a wooden saw. Tragic. Walking with the Lord doesn’t promise us a wonderful time or a life where we are accepted by people or life without pain. It does give us an inward peace knowing and having a relationship with God. Knowing that what God has called us to He will finish in our lives. Knowing God is our Hope. He wil give us peace and we will not feel alone as HE walks with us and as we draw nearer and nearer to Him. Each disciple walked the way of the cross in their lives. Each one drew ever so close. Many non believing people came to know Jesus through them. Rather Jesus did the drawing of the hardened hearts of man and made them soft so the desciples could catch them just at the right time for Jesus. Focused on Jesus, obedient to His voice, and practiced with their lives the Words of their master, Jesus. Jesus the Way the truth and the Life.: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14: 6)
The prophet, Isaiah, gives us so many wonderful inspiring words to live by and cherish. When we hear of struggles in his life it should increase our faith ; as even he struggled much like we do today on our journey. It should add a wattage of light to our Hope! And it does mine.
“Walking with the Lord doesn’t promise us a wonderful time or a life where we are accepted by people or life without pain. It does give us an inward peace knowing and having a relationship with God. Knowing that what God has called us to He will finish in our lives. Knowing God is our Hope. He wil give us peace and we will not feel alone as HE walks with us and as we draw nearer and nearer to Him.” Encouraging words, Rena. Thank you for sharing.
18 “Come now, and let us reason together,”
Says the Lord,
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They shall be as wool.
19 If you are willing and obedient,
You shall eat the good of the land; Isaiah 1:18,19
It seems that Isaiah helps us face our sins here in these verses rather hand make excuses and gives two conditions for success: wiling and obedient.
In reading Rena’s post on Isaiah and following comments, the one main thing says to me, he walked close to God. And, excuse makers walk afar off God’s path.