When you go camping and you get to roast hot dogs over the fire, does that make you happy? I’d think so.
Now, would you be happy if you had to eat hot dogs every meal, three times a day, for a month? I don’t think so. Here’s why. When we’re away from home, we expect discomforts. We expect life to be harder.
The comforts of home
At home, however, hot dogs every day just don’t cut it. At home we expect to be comfortable, well fed, living the good life. We even talk about “the comforts of home.” And isn’t it one of the best things in life to sleep in your own bed after being gone? That’s a good feeling. But it gets in the way when the comforts of home compromise our commitment to Jesus’ work and purpose in our lives.
That’s a lesson for two of Jesus’ followers. One of them expected the work of Jesus to provide the normal comforts of home and Jesus flatly warned that it will not. The other wanted to take care of a family need, and Jesus didn’t accept it as an excuse.
If you don’t expect discomforts and conflicting priorities in your every day life following Jesus, you’re believing a lie. If your commitment to Jesus and his work in your life is conditional because of home or family, you’re not following Jesus the way he wants.
So he replies to these two, and to us, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.” (Matthew 8:22) Jesus is saying that anyone who gets caught up in excuses to not follow him completely isn’t spiritually alive, living with a vibrant faith in him. Even family is not an excuse that Jesus accepts. Even a family funeral is not an excuse that Jesus accepts.
He’s getting serious. He won’t settle for second place.
The call of Jesus
Jesus is looking for unconditional commitment from you, just as he is always committed to you. Recall how Jesus, during his life on earth, was committed beyond comfortable. Jesus had a home in Capernaum, but most of the time he wasn’t there because he was on the road healing people and teaching about the kingdom of God.
Jesus didn’t allow his family to limit his mission of saving all people. If you’re a Bible reader, you remember the time when he was twelve years old and Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem at the temple even though his parents returned home, and they discovered he was missing, traveled all the way back to Jerusalem, found him, and he said, “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house” (Luke 2:49)?
His heavenly business and mission from God the Father defined his relationship with his family, not the other way around. He even sacrificed his life, as a victim of injustice, while his mother watched. He took the thorns and nails and spear, the pain and even the death, because that’s what God the Father asked him to do. He gave it as a gift to his Father and to you.
So be less conditional and less comfortable when it comes to living your faith in Jesus. Don’t let home or family be your excuse to slack back from the big, exciting things that Jesus wants to work in your life as you follow him.
Follow Jesus first, and in faith you’ll see how that will actually become a bigger blessing to your home and family.
Dear Jesus, I confess that I can be conditionally committed to you. Your unconditional commitment to me changes me to seek comfort and convenience less. I want to follow your call away from the comfortable life to the committed life. Less of me. More of you. Amen.
Meditate on this. What does it mean for you? “When you follow Jesus, there is never crucifixion without resurrection.”