Sunday, April 28, 2013

Not Ready Yet

Not Ready Yet
April 29, 2013
Matthew 8:21  "Another of the disciples said to him, 'Lord, let me first go and bury my father.'"

We like to do things on our own time, when we're ready.  Some people need a lot of preparation to be ready, to get their head in the game, able to perform.  Others actually enjoy the utter spontaneity life brings on many days.  I've noticed the Lord doesn't always give us a good deal of notice when He's about to change our lives forever (and rarely does He consult us first).  You may have your life planned out, but when the Lord gives you a call and asks something of you, you'd better be ready at a moments notice, ready to commit to the task with full fortitude.  He does not accept excuses; He won't even entertain them.  You're either all in or you're out.  I hope you're ready.

When Jesus was in the early years of His ministry, He was in the practice of calling people to follow Him.  To us, that might suggest meeting a few times a week and following His teachings.  But when Jesus called upon disciples to follow Him, it was a 24/7 deal, wherever that might lead.  The followers were expected to be by His side all day, living together as a band of brothers.  Jesus called one specific man to follow Him (to become a permanent disciple), but the man replied with an extremely legitimate excuse as to why He couldn't just join in with a wandering band of brothers.  The man told Jesus he first wanted to bury his father.

Jesus was asking the man not to return to his home at night, but rather go on permanent missionary work with Jesus.  The man however, was taking care of his aged parents.  This man (whose name remains unknown), was a Jewish teacher of the law who came to believe in Jesus as the Messiah.  This man understood the Jewish code that required you to take care of your elderly parents.  He was being a righteous man by honoring his parents.  It was a good thing, a noble thing to support and take care of them.  It is not known how close his father was to death, but the man told Jesus he could not go on adventures as there was no one else to look after his dependent father.  It was quite an awkward situation, since Jesus was asking the man to abandon his parents leaving no one to take care of them.

Jesus rebuked this man and said, "let the dead bury their own dead."  His statement was not suggesting the man's father had already died and was awaiting a funeral, but that his father was not a believer in Jesus like his son.  His father was dead in Christ and therefore irrelevant.  Jesus was suggesting that you're either in with Jesus or out altogether, there is no middle ground.  He was telling the man that following the work of Jesus is far more important than the other good works he had planned.  The man was not ready yet.  When the Lord asks us to do something, it really isn't a suggestion.  When He calls, we must be ready, despite not being really ready sometimes.  He gives us something to do that is far more critical to His master plan than the good things we are all ready doing, no matter how honorable the other works.

No one knows what happened with that man, if he followed Jesus or not, but I understand both sides of the story, caught between good and honorable things and still doing what the Lord asks.  He wasn't ready.  How do you balance all of it or drop everything for the Lord?  Jesus gave a clarification, a tie breaker rule, for figuring out what you are supposed to be doing when you're not ready.  He said, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God."  Certainly, we all want to be found fit for the kingdom of God.  Jesus was saying that you're either all in or your out, even if you aren't ready yet.  So when it comes to following what He asks of you, be ready to commit at a moments notice and with full fortitude, abandoning the other good works you had planned.

Don't take my word for it; look it up:  Jer 1:4-10, Matt 7:21, Luke 9:59-62, Luke 14:18-20

No comments: