August 2nd, 2011 → 2:00 am @ admin
By Jon Walker
Someone else said, “I will follow you, sir; but first let me go and say good-bye to my family.” Jesus said to him, “Anyone who starts to plow and then keeps looking back is of no use for the Kingdom of God.” Luke 9:61-62 (TEV)
“The trouble about this third would-be disciple is that at the very moment he expresses his willingness to follow, he ceases to want to follow at all. By making his offer on his own terms, he alters the whole position, for discipleship can tolerate no conditions which might come between Jesus and our obedience to him.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
When we follow Jesus, we cannot stipulate our own terms. Discipleship is not, Bonhoeffer notes, like a career we map out for ourselves: “I’ll do this for Jesus after I get the kids through school and build my retirement fund.” We cannot arrange things to suit ourselves; otherwise, Bonhoeffer says, we end up serving Jesus “in accordance with the standards of a rational ethic.”
This still leaves us in control, deciding our service on what makes sense. We may accomplish good things, but that doesn’t make us disciples of Jesus. Jesus says, “Anyone who starts to plow and then keeps looking back is of no use for the Kingdom of God” (Luke 9:61-62 TEV).
Looking back is double-mindedness. It makes us unstable and uncertain, and that’s the exact opposite of the focused following Jesus expects of us. It means there are moments in our relationship with Jesus when we say, ‘I’ll get back to you, Jesus, just as soon as I finish with my priorities.’ It is the creature putting the Creator on hold.
Jon Walker is the author of Costly Grace: A Contemporary View of Bonhoeffer’s ‘The Cost of Discipleship’ and Growing with Purpose. He has served on staff at Saddleback Church and Purpose Driven Ministries and is currently the managing editor of Rick Warren’s Daily Devotionals and the Ministry Toolbox. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. This article is copyrighted 2011 by Jon Walker. Used by permission.