"Then a teacher of the law came to Him and said, 'Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.'" Jesus replied, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head." Another disciple said to Him, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father." But Jesus told him, "Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead." Matthew 8:19-22
When you have to be somewhere at a specific time and that specific time is fast approaching, things get stressful. Trying to get kids ready, diaper bags packed, shoes on, cell phones in pocket, hair combed, shoes back on again. All this hustle and bustle can be stressful. In all of the hustle and bustle, the question was asked, "Can I bring a toy?" While looking for all the things that need to be in the car so that the car can eventually leave with us in it, I shout, "Sure, pick your favorite one." At first you would think that this question and answer exchange would be quite simple and to the point. However, to a 3-year old, this question had massive implications. First comes the discussion of what toy his favorite is. Then the tears that we can only bring one. Then the reprioritizing of what really is the favorite. Then the clarification of his favorite inside toy vs. his favorite outside toy. Reality is that picking a number one is hard sometimes.
When it comes to Jesus, the discussion and agonizing that comes over making such a choice should be much more simple. But is it? By this, I mean it is easy on Sunday mornings to say that Jesus is number one in your life. You're sitting in church. You just got done participating in some awesome worship through music. Your pastor is on his "A"game and the message rocks! You just find yourself shouting inside, "JESUS, YOU ARE NUMBER ONE!" That is easy. That is expected. How about where you are stressed? How about when you are tired, pressed to the max, persecuted, misunderstood, angry, hurt? Is Jesus number one when life seems to be getting the best of you? What about when you hear horrible news? When you don't know how you're going to get through the mess you're in? Is He still at the top?
Jesus discovered this first hand when people claimed they wanted to follow Him. People would approach Him and tell Him that they were willing to follow Him, but were they really understanding what they were saying? In Matthew 8:19-22, we see two responses that Jesus gives to individuals who said that they were ready to follow Him. On the first read, it might seem that Jesus is being totally rude or mean to these two men wanting to become His followers. But, a little investigation makes us realize that nothing is farther from the truth. Many of us read verse 22 and think that Jesus was being a little too harsh and expecting a little too much. I mean come on, who shouldn't be able to bury a parent after their death? In fact, many scholars believe that this man was not asking to go to a funeral, instead he was asking to follow Jesus after his father eventually did die. Kind of like saying to Jesus, "Hey, now is not a good time, but maybe in a few years." He wanted to set the terms as to what following Jesus would look like in his life.
You see, both of these men wanted the same thing: To be disciples of Jesus. Jesus just wanted to make sure that they understood what that meant: He had to be number one in their lives. He had to be more important than possessions, more important than family. It's not that those other things are unimportant, they just can't be placed anywhere near in value to Jesus. Our life, our finances, our relationships, our conversations, everything we are should be centered around the fact that Jesus is the most important relationship in our lives. No discussion. No agonizing what your favorite is; just obedience to the only ONE thing that should hold top value in your life.
Is Jesus truly number one in your life? Is He more important than anything you have or own? More important than any of your relationships? He doesn't want to be number two...He wants to be number one. Is He number one in your life?
Heavenly Father, help my life to reflect You most. Help me to live the life that proclaims You are number one in my life. Break me and mold me to live for You alone.
Posted on Fri, September 30, 2011
by Doug Story