Posted by: pastormikemcdowell | June 16, 2015

June 16, 2015 “I’ll Do It Then”

“He said to another man, “Follow me.” But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” (Luke 9:59)

Good Morning Everyone! This is the day the Lord has made, so let us rejoice and be glad in it!

There aren’t a lot of things I remember saying as a child. No matter…for most of what I said as a child was not worthy of note anyway. But there is one expression I often used quite ineffectively but nonetheless persistently. If my mother or father wanted me to do something that involved some sort of task that would take me away from whatever other amusing activity I was involved with at the time, my standard reply was “I’ll do it then.” To clarify, I was not saying “Of course…yes, I will do as you say.” Oh no! What I was saying was “It is my intention to do as you say, but not right now.” I never recall that response being met with enthusiasm on the part of my parents. They expected immediate compliance despite my “magnanimous” offer of future obedience.

In the passage noted above, we have Jesus uttering words he often uttered to would-be disciples…“Follow me.” These words of Jesus carried with them the understanding of total and immediate commitment. Now, I don’t know if your reaction was the same as mine the first time I read this passage, but the request of the would-be disciple seemed quite reasonable on the surface. He wanted to attend to an important affair…the burial of his father. Of course, this did not mean that his father had just died and he was needed to attend to the immediate matter of his burial. Were that the case, he would not have even been carrying on this conversation with Jesus. What he was saying was “My father is elderly, and won’t be around much longer. After he dies, I will follow you.” In other words, he was saying as I did as a child, “I’ll do it then!” Jesus’ response was quite blunt and to the point. He replies, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” What he was saying was that “For you to go to your father’s funeral—or back home—would be a bad idea. I must come first.” Jesus says there can’t be any other “but first.” “I must be your first priority.”  

Pastor Timothy Keller put it like this: “You may be saying, “Well, I believe in Jesus, but I can’t put him first right now. I’ve got my career; I’ve got to wait till my parents die, because they would be unhappy if I became a Christian… I see who he is and what he’s done, but I’m not going to put him first just yet. Someday I will.” When someone says, “I understand Christianity. I’m just not ready to put it at the central place in my life,” then that person really doesn’t understand it yet! Jesus says: Putting anything before me reveals spiritual deadness. Let the dead bury their dead. If you put your father before me, there’s a spiritual deadness in your life.”

When it comes to following Jesus Christ, “I’ll do it then” is not an acceptable response. It didn’t cut it for me as a child, and it certainly doesn’t cut it in the realm of true discipleship. Like the old song from the Broadway musical “Oklahoma”, Jesus is saying,  “With me it’s all ‘er nothin’…is it all ‘er nothin’ with you? It can’t be in between…it can’t be now and then…no half and half romance will do.” There is only one “but first”, and his name is Jesus! Let’s pray!

O Lord of my life; may I come to understand that there is nothing in this world that takes preeminence in my life other than serving You. When You beckon me to follow, may I do so without hesitation and with complete confidence, for You alone are worthy of my absolute allegiance and my faithfulness. This I pray in Jesus’ mighty Name. Amen!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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