A sincere Christian businessman once told this author, “When I retire, I intend to dedicate the rest of my life to serving the Lord.” His involvement in the local church was fairly limited, and, once he retired, he moved far away from any grace church. His final years were spent largely without any meaningful spiritual ministry.
In Matthew 8:18-23, two disciples offered to follow the Savior. The first said, “I will follow Thee whithersoever Thou goest” (vs. 19). Our Lord’s response was, “the foxes have holes…but the Son of man hath not where to lay His head” (vs. 20). In divine wisdom, the Lord Jesus knew this man needed to understand there would be hardship and sacrifices for those who followed Him. The second man, likewise, expressed a willingness to be our Lord’s disciple, but he asked, “…first to go and bury my father” (vs. 21). This was not a request for a temporary leave of absence. If his father had just recently died, he would surely have been attending to the needs for burial at the time. Instead, he was asking for a delay in fully following the Lord for what likely may have been many years. The Savior’s response was, “Follow Me; and the let the (spiritually) dead bury the dead” (vs. 22). In both instances, the Lord Jesus Christ was explaining He expected complete and immediate commitment in following Him, not delays or half-heartedness. These were requirements for Jews in this day to receive eternal life and enter the Millennial Kingdom. He more fully explained in Luke 14:26 saying, “If any many come to Me, and hate not (comparatively) father, and mother, and wife, and children…he cannot be My disciple.” Being a true believer in this era meant complete commitment because, “No man having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62).
Today, under Grace, such exacting standards are not demanded to be a follower of Christ. Still, we see tremendous dedication in the lives of grace believers like the Apostle Paul, Titus, Timothy, and more. Surely the Savior expects us to similarly be “sold out” in our daily walk because we are told, “…that He [Christ] died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them, and rose again” (II Corinthians 5:15). Is your life one of total commitment to the Lord, or one of delay and half-heartedness? Today, make your first priority your Savior.
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