Ready to give stuff up for Jesus? Luke 9: 57-58 (Seven Minute Sermon)

Wheat and ChaffSo I was reading this passage from Luke’s Gospel. Jesus was walking along the road. I love that detail. Jesus was a kind of itinerant rabbi. He travelled from place to place, and travel meant walking. There are plenty of examples of Jesus walking in the countryside, between villages and towns. You might remember the moment when he’s in a field of corn, and his disciples are picking the corn, rolling it in their hands to get rid of the chaff, and eating the good bit in the middle.

But he also spent time in and around bigger cities like Capernaum and Jerusalem, teaching in synagogues and the temple.  So, you can picture Jesus walking with a bunch of people crowding around, keeping as close as possible, trying to hear every word he says. We don’t know where he was walking, but he was walking, and a bunch of people would have been walking with him.
This man comes up to him. We’re not told who he is. Maybe he had been walking with Jesus for a while – maybe Jesus had just been speaking and he had just responded to some kind of altar call – maybe it was just a random encounter on the road, or in one of the villages.

Jesus WalkingWhoever he is, this man wants to follow Jesus. ‘I will follow you wherever you go..’ I suppose that you would expect Jesus to be pleased. Another follower. Another soul with lots to learn, but aware of the closeness of the Kingdom of God. His reaction is interesting. ‘Foxes have dens and birds have nests’, says Jesus. Now the thing is, foxes don’t travel across continents or even wander between villages – they generally have their own territory and they stay in their own territory. They are secure in the territory and they have their Den there. The life of a fox is not easy, but they know where they are supposed to be. They have their place to hide away. Their place to rest. They have their home. It is theirs. No-one else’s. Birds are similar. Many birds have territories, and some, even the little robin, will fight to the death over them. In their territory is their home. For much of the year there may be somewhere they roost, but in the breeding season there will be a nest. Like the foxes, they know their own territory and they stay in their own place.

For those who follow Jesus, life isn’t like that. Well I kind of know where I live, and you probably do too. I do move about a bit, but I suppose I know where my own place is. For tonight, and the next little while at least!

‘But the Son of Man,’ a sort of controversial name which Jesus uses to refer to himself, ‘has no-where to lay his head.’ That was probably literally true for Jesus at times. As he travelled he was not living permanently in one place, so he may have sometimes spent nights in unexpected places, even in the open. His real home, the place where he intends to live and rest, is in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Too Much StuffI think Jesus is saying that is how it needs to be for us.  We have to be prepared to set aside that sense of worldly belonging. Following Jesus involves a readiness to give stuff up. Our lifestyle, our ambitions, even out identity are up for change. We are to set aside the security of our own territory. Following Jesus involves risk. For some people in this world, the risk is huge and includes a serious threat to their personal safety. For me, at this moment, that’s not the case. I’m humbled every time I read about people who risk their very lives to follow Jesus.

For most of us, the challenge isn’t so huge. We may express our desire to follow Jesus, but unless that includes a willingness to step outside of our comfort zone, with a willingness to set aside the things we hold most dear, then whatever words may subsequently leave our lips, our hearts will never truly follow Jesus.

Did the man who walked up to Jesus pay the price and follow Jesus? No idea! Scripture doesn’t tell us. I think that this little cameo makes us look not at the man but at ourselves. So, what about you? Are you going to hold on firmly to everything you have? Or are you ready to trust Jesus for that first step?

Anything of value has it’s price. The invitation to follow Jesus is the most valuable thing you will ever receive. Be ready to give up stuff.

It’s time to follow Jesus.

 

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