“I want you to close your eyes and envision something,” Stan said one morning.
“Okay,” I replied, “what do you want me to envision?”
“Picture God sitting on His throne listening in on one of your conversations.”
“A conversation about what?”
“Being a disciple.”
“Like the three steps of denying myself, taking up my cross, and following Him?”
“That’s it,” Stan replied. “Now imagine you just said you had an excuse for why you couldn’t do that, and God rolls His eyes back and says, ‘Wow, that was a quite an excuse; haven’t heard that one for awhile.’”
“You really think that could happen?” I asked.
“I do,” Stan replied,” and I saw something similar to that in Luke’s gospel.”
“God rolled His eyes over an excuse?”
“Well, not exactly,” Stan said, “but Jesus did respond to an excuse some fellow had about why he couldn’t follow Jesus.”
“What was that all about?” I asked.
“It’s recorded that Jesus told a particular person to follow Him, but the person offered an excuse as to why he couldn’t do that.”
“Couldn’t or wouldn’t?” I asked.
“You’re right,” Stan said, “seems more like wouldn’t. In any event, this person asked Jesus to let him first go bury his father.”
“Had his dad died?”
“I don’t think so,” Stan replied.
“Was he sick and dying?”
“It doesn’t say that either,” Stan said, “and it seems to me that could have been the point when Jesus rolled His eyes!”
“He told the person to let the dead bury the dead. In other words, I think Jesus could see that this person was just making an excuse. I also think Jesus was assuring the person that everything about his father would be cared for. He didn’t need to be concerned about anything other than following Jesus.”
“Did he follow Him?’
“It doesn’t say one way or the other,” Stan replied, “but my guess is that he didn’t.”
“Could have been,” I commented, “like the fellow known as the rich young ruler who went away and was never heard from again in the Bible after he wouldn’t do what Jesus said.”
“You’re right,” Stan replied, “and for me this is a reminder that God doesn’t want my excuses, He wants my obedience. He wants me to follow Him and follow Him closely, whenever and wherever.”
Bible verses to consider:
And He said to another, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Permit me first to go and bury my father.” But He said to him, “Allow the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim everywhere the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:59-60.
And another of the disciples said to Him, “Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.” But Jesus said to him, “Follow Me; and allow the dead to bury their own dead. Matthew 8:21-22.
If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. John 14:15
Prayer: Thank you, Father, that you allow me the choice to follow you. Thank you, too, that you want and expect my obedience in following you. I confess that there have been way too many times I have come up with an excuse for not following you. Please help me in choosing to follow you without hesitation or excuse. Help me to follow you wherever and whenever you want. No excuses, just obedience. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Do you think God needs your obedience? Why or why not? A different question is whether you think He wants your obedience. What do you think about that question? Have you ever given God an excuse for not obeying Him? If so, what was that all about and how did it work out? Do you think He was surprised by your excuse? Why or why not? Discipleship involves denying self, taking up what God has for us to take up, and then following Him. Where do excuses fit into those three steps?