“One of my neighbors stopped by last night,” Stan began, “and I was surprised to see him.”
“Why were you surprised to see him?” I asked.
“The other day he told me he was going to be gone for the weekend and asked if I would watch his house.”
Continuing, he said, “He was planning to go camping with a friend up by Eagle Ridge in the Sawtooth Mountains.”
“So,” I replied, “he didn’t go camping?”
“Well,” Stan said, “it seems that he was all packed, ready for the weekend, real excited about getting away, but he turned around when he was about half-way there.”
“Turned around? why?” I asked.
“Apparently he was following his friend because he didn’t know where he was going,” Stan said, “and the road got really rough. He has a new SUV and was real concerned the very rutted and rocky road was going to damage it.”
“I’ve been up there,” I responded. “Bad road. I wouldn’t want to take my new car there. So your neighbor turned around and came home?”
“Yeah, he did,“ Stan replied.
“What about his friend?” I asked.
“I guess he kept going,” Stan said.
“What happened with my neighbor,” Stan continued, “is a lot like many people who start to follow Jesus, but turn around when the road gets rough.”
He then added, “Jesus said if I want to be His disciple I have to choose to follow Him. As we have talked about, following is the third step of discipleship after I have made the two choices to deny myself and do what He has for me to do in taking up my cross.”
“Jesus did not say to follow Him if the road is smooth and doesn’t have any ruts or rocks. It may be a smooth road with no problems, but it may not. That’s up to Him. My role, if I want to be His disciple, is to follow Him, whatever the cost, wherever He is leading.”
Concluding, Stan said, “I am to follow Him. Period. No turning around when the road gets rough! Discipleship involves three steps, not just two, and not just two and a half.”
If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. Luke 9:23.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for wanting me to be a disciple of your Son. Thank you for wanting me to follow Him, wherever He leads, whatever the cost. I confess that too often I do not complete the three steps of denying myself, taking up what you have for me to take up, and following. I may do everything, except I quit following when the road gets rough. Please forgive me for wanting only a smooth road with no rocks, no ruts, and no difficulties. Please help me in following every step of your lead so I will follow, whatever the direction and whatever the cost, however rough the road may be or become. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Have you ever stopped following Jesus because the road became too hard or difficult? If so, what did that feel like? Are you following Jesus now? If not, why? If you are following Jesus, are you prepared to follow whatever the direction, whatever the cost, regardless of how difficult or smooth the road may be? Do you know the road will not always be smooth?