Lord Jesus, draw the thoughts and longings of our heart to You. Amen.
Text: Luke 9:57–62
Now it happened as they journeyed on the road, that someone said to Him, “Lord, I will follow You wherever You go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” Then He said to another, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.” And another also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.” But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”
Not earthly, but heavenly things you must seek with Jesus. He is the Lord over heaven and earth, but He becomes the poorest of all for our sake, and we must learn from Him to forsake everything in the world if we are to enjoy the goods of His kingdom. This He says to us immediately, but He does not disown us if we do not immediately understand it all, if only we are of the truth. But how can wealth and the world’s yearning for it keep so many away from the Lord? Is it not a strange delusion – what am I saying? – a terrible deception of heart that these things which Jesus considers so lowly, and which we know are corruptible, are regarded so highly by us and have such power over our hearts? O come to Him, and let Him teach you to seek everlasting goods, then you are free from mammon and are lord over it. He shall not disown you, however weak you are, if you will listen to Him, obey Him, and receive from Him that sacred poverty which is the true wealth of the soul. Do it for the sake of your eternal salvation!
To the man who says he will follow Him forever, the Lord speaks about his poverty, because He sees that the man’s eagerness is still fleshly, but that there is still a good foundation in him. To another He says: “Follow Me! Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God” – because He saw that this man’s heart was bound to his earthly home. Likewise with him who wants to follow Him, but first wants to say good-bye to his family. This spirit of Demas (2Ti 4:10) must be cast out if we are to be saved, for with it we would suffer the destruction of Sodom. But how many have laid their hand to the plow one moment looking forward, and later lost sight of the purpose, looked back, involved themselves in worldly things and lost their confidence! “So it happens when one steps aside from his duty just a little to take with him some of the world’s joy, then soon the pure mind which Jesus was taking care of becomes more and more false.”
“Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Phi 2:12-13). “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world – he lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever” (1Jo 2:15-17).
Never let the world’s riches or joys hold us back from following You and never entice us from You, Lord Jesus! Draw us to You, and keep us with You, to our last hour. Amen.
Who will join the throng to heaven?
Come, our Savior calleth thee.
Come, while yet the chance is given,
Humbly bow to Him the knee.
Turn from sin thy face away,
With the world no longer stray;
Greater things are thee awaiting
Than the world’s despair and hating.
Hast thou spent thy days in chasing
Phantoms of delight and glee?
Hast thou fondly been embracing
Sin with all its agony?
O then turn to Calvary,
Let the cross thy solace be,
With a heart contrite and lowly
Give thyself to Jesus wholly.
Brorson: Hvo vil med til Himmerige? L 461:1.3 HCH 174:1-2 tr. P. C. Paulsen;
tune: Hvo vil med (HCH 174) or Freu dich sehr (ELH 593); alternate hymn: Jesus Christ, my sure Defense ELH 532:10