Wednesday, March 16, 2016

"But First..."

Luke 9.61-62 NLT

“Another said, ‘Yes, Lord, I will follow you, but first let me say good-bye to my family.’ But Jesus told him, ‘Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.’ ”

It annoyed me when, as a kid watching The Jack Benny Program on Sunday nights, I heard Jack say, “…but first a word from our sponsor”. What was a “sponsor”? I was fairly certain the “sponsor” would be less entertaining than the TV show. No “word” from Jell-O, Grape Nuts, or Lucky Strikes could possibly be as funny or engaging as Jack Benny and his guests.

I wonder what Jesus thinks when He hears “Yes, Lord, I will follow you, but first…” blah, blah, blah. Probably nothing I have to say next will hold much meaning for Christ. I assume anything I plan in place of following Him will be less essential to my spiritual welfare than actually following Him.

My “family” can become my nifty reason not to offer full devotion to Jesus. “But first let me say good-bye to my family” is a cop-out. When I elevate “my family” above the Lord I do a disservice to the people I cherish the most. It is not necessary to “say good-bye to my family” before I follow Christ. 

My wife, before she died, and children never wanted to be my “but first” excuse. Adonica always expected me to put God first. “My family” does not deserve to suffer the burden of influencing my resolve to follow Jesus. Full devotion to Him is my responsibility alone. My unqualified decision to put the Lord ahead of “my family” makes me a better family man. It gave my wife and children the confidence they needed to follow me. They knew God loves them more than I ever could and they had enough faith to know Jesus would take care of them if I was following Him.

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