“As they were going along the road, someone said to Him, ‘I will follow You wherever You go.’ 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.’ Another also said, ‘I will follow You Lord; but first permit me to say goodbye 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 9:57-62
Most of us that believe in Jesus would like to say that Jesus is our top priority. But when we really begin to think about our lives, none of us can honestly say that Jesus truly is our top priority.
At the end of Luke 9, Jesus challenges those that seek to be His followers that faith in Him isn’t something to try to fit into their lives, but must be focus of their whole lives. Believing in Jesus isn’t simply a one time commitment, but a lifestyle of daily walking in faith. Jesus described faith in terms of animals each having their homes, but declaring that He didn’t have a home here. In other words, faith in Jesus means that the more we press on with the Lord, we also won’t find comfort, feel like we belong, or even find a place that seems like home; no matter how zealous we are to follow Jesus.
As we look around today, we are distracted by so many things. Busy schedules that include family, work, activities, and the like that make it tough to add just one thing more. The same goes with our time with the Lord. If we can simply set aside time for a “devotional” or to even make it to church, many often feel they are doing quite well. But when we take the time to really examine our lives, much of what we are consumed by doesn’t really matter as much as we try to think it does. We simply make excuses about why these things are important and why they “need” to have our time and attention. Meanwhile, time with Jesus gets put on the back burner or just gets added-on to our already busy lives.
In Luke 9:62, Jesus wraps up His discussion with these different people by giving them (and us) an ultimatum. We either choose to follow the Lord or pursue the other desires of our lives. Jesus uses an illustration of farming and looking back while one is plowing. If a person looks back while plowing, they end up swerving to the left and right. In essence, they are carried away by whatever catches their attention at the time. In our lives, this is no different. We can get caught up with so many different things that if we aren’t careful, we lose our focus on the Lord and drift in all sorts of other directions.
In another passage, Genesis 19, Abraham’s nephew, Lot, was warned by some angels about God’s imminent destruction of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. And as Lot and his family were fleeing for their lives, Lot’s wife “looked back” and became a “pillar of salt”. Lot’s wife wasn’t looking back to merely see what was taking place, but rather it represented her devotion to her prior life rather than following God. This passage is very similar to what Jesus was speaking about in Luke 9. Those that continue to earnestly desire and chase after the things of this world rather than total dependance and pursuit of the things of Jesus are truly not followers of Him; even if they profess some sort of “faith” in Jesus.
The whole issue focuses upon making Jesus our top priority.
Instead of trying to fit Jesus into our schedules, we must be adjusting our lives around Jesus. As we grow in spending time in prayer, reading and studying the Bible, meeting with other believers, and living out our faith in the Lord, we will begin to look at things in a different light. The things that we once tried to claim as important will fade in the light of our pursuit of the Lord. And although we all have earthly responsibilities which we must attend, we will be much more aware so that we don’t allow them or other things to overtake our walk with Jesus and our obedience to Him.
Making Jesus our top priority is something we each need to examine often in our lives. It is not enough to try and cling to the notion to say Jesus is our greatest importance, but rather we must prove in all areas of our lives that we are surrendering to Jesus more and more. May we each take Jesus’ words seriously and find ourselves “fit for the kingdom of God” and not be torn away by the things of this world.