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The Case of a Disciple Unfit to Work

The Case of a Disciple Unfit to Work

| On 15, Nov 2017

F.D. Peralta  I  12 November 2017

KEY TEXT :  LUKE 9:57-62 (NIV)

57As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”

58Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.

59He said to another man, “Follow me.”

But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”

60Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”

61Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.”

62Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand on the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

 

Called to a Life of Plowing

  Christians you and I are called not just to a life of CONSTANT FOLLOWING but also to a life of DAILY PLOWING. We need to plow the field of our heart everyday as we plow the field of the Kingdom, which is our service or ministry to the Lord.

 

Many of us today have concocted notions of what it truly means to “follow Jesus” and so far these beliefs have influenced our daily walk with the Saviour and shaped our attitude toward our service to Him–and yet we often find ourselves delaying, slowing down, dragging, agonizing, calculating, bargaining, giving up and, for others, even failing to launch.  But, Jesus himself in the passage we have just read has given us an honest picture of what it is like to follow Him–the metaphor of a farmer plowing the field.

 

In our key text Luke 9:57-62 Jesus issues a statement that is both an admonition about His expectations from those who intend or have decided to follow Him and serve in His cause as well as a motivation to be resolute or firm in our commitment to serve in the kingdom work God has impressed in our heart.

 

Luke 9:62 

No one who puts a hand on the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.

 

All of us here, no doubt, are called, but are we all “fit to work”? For unless we learn and live by the basic principle of plowing, you and I may be found unfit to work” and our service unacceptable before God. [You’re right. It does sound like there’s a high price to pay to be counted fit for service in the Kingdom of God.” With the words of Christ, let’s have an honest introspection and see the inner workings of our hearts.

EXPOSITION.

 

I.  DISCOURSES OF THE UNFIT DISCIPLE      

When Jesus hears the disciples’ responses to his call to follow, He can also see what is truly in their hearts. Thus, He is straightforward to declare them unfit to work.  [What is it that Jesus see in each of them?] Studying their respective discourses can tell us there are three C’s in this life that you and I need to handle with care and caution.  For the world they are life’s perks, but for Christians they can be detrimental to our service to the Lord when embraced fully.

 

1. Comfort

57As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”

 

58Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.

 

  • § V57 depicts a disciple who upholds the “COMFORTS of this life” and his “personal comfort” above anything else. At first, he is willing to go anywhere with Jesus [He is quite intentional in his desire], but as soon as he realizes that one-by-one his comfort points are to be sacrificed, he starts to be CONDITIONAL. It’s interesting how his SILENCE seems to shout his unwillingness [since now the conditions have changed].

                              

Matt 8:19

Then a teacher of the law came to him and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.”

 

  • § A cross reference to Matthew 8:19 furthers reveals that this disciple is a “teacher of the law”–a position that entitles him a seat of honor, high regard of the people, admiration, etc. in the Jewish culture. And his silence signifies his agony to give up these rights and entitlements[--too high a price for him to pay. It’s impossible to part with them.] This renders him unfit to work.

 

  • § If we are “comfortable” Christians, we follow Christ only when it suits us or when the conditions favor us. We allow the comforts of life to be the factor that determines our service for the Lord. Then we begin to calculate the cost of our sacrifices and the comforts we would deny ourselves for the cause of Christ and then SILENCE.

 

2. Convenience

59He said to another man, “Follow me.”

But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”

 

60Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”

 

It is interesting to note that Jesus himself initiates the command for this disciple to be part of his team; he must have seen some promise or potential or a special skill. But his reply “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” is a great disappointment for Jesus.

 

V59 presents a disciple whose CONVENIENCE comes before his service to the God. When Jesus makes the offer, this disciple cooks up a better and more significant thing to do–perform a family duty. [what else could be more important than Jesus?] What he is actually saying is “I’m busy today, how about we do it tomorrow?”  His delaying is an excuse because he is not totally willing.

 

When we serve God out of our convenience, what we give Jesus is nothing but leftovers–[leftover time, strength, concentration, love, passion, devotion, etc. God does not deserve our leftovers. We need to set our priorities in place. If Jesus does not have first place in our lives, then He has no place at all. If we cannot “seek the kingdom first”, then we are unfit work.

 

3. Choices

61Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.”

 

In V61 Jesus encounters a disciple who lacks focus and definite direction because he still clings onto LIFE CHOICES. He is distracted from reaching his ultimate goal because he cannot settle in his mind to stick on to the option of God. What this disciple is saying is he is willing to perform the task Jesus has for him, but he has got to keep the door open in case things don’t workout (He can have something to go back to). [sounds like reservation and preservation] He has not totally cut ties with the world and is still entangled.  And Jesus dismisses him right away–

 

Luke 9:62

No one who puts a hand on the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.

 

When we have decided to follow/serve Jesus, we need to surrender COMPLETELY not just our present but also our future. We need to sever ties with the world (old contacts, way of life, etc), stay focused, and be committed. We need to find out what really matters to us.

 

Following Jesus is a long term commitment and an everyday commitment at that. We must notice our tendencies to get distracted and determine in our hearts to follow Jesus.

 

APPLICATION:  I think we’ve got to take time to seriously reflect on our following Jesus for it is a life commitment. As a leader, can we sincerely say we have given full-hearted service to God? Perhaps, have we allowed the comforts, conveniences, and choices of this life to render us unfit to work for the Kingdom Purpose?

 

II.  LEARNING FROM THE PRINCIPLE OF PLOWING

 

Living the Christian life and serving Christ are very much like plowing the field. Jesus uses the metaphor of a plowman to teach us a great principle which regulates the Christian life and service.

 

Putting Hand Firm On The Plow

In order that a plowman may accomplish his work, it is necessary to look onward - to be intent.

 

Putting our hand to the plough is to undertake Christ’s work or to resolve to be His disciples.

 

A bible commentator has this to say about “putting one’s hand on the plow”:

It’s not just a slice of life, something that rounds out your life and makes it a bit nicer. It’s the center, the hub of your life. Everything else revolves around Jesus and His kingdom purpose. My career must be subservient to the will of God and His kingdom purpose. My family life must be centered on following Jesus Christ and serving Him. My spare time is not my own, to do with as I please. It must be yielded to Jesus Christ and His purpose. This is not to say that every spare minute must be spent in serving the Lord. He made us so that we require rest and recreation. We need not feel guilty about taking appropriate time off for leisure activities. But the reason for the time off is so that we will be refreshed to serve the Lord better.

      Service to Christ demands devotedness of purpose, complete submission, unwavering commitment, and a singleness of heart

 

Looking Back

The act of looking back only reveals on thing–a heart that is divided.

Gen 19:25-26

Thus he over threw those cities and the entire plain, destroying all those living in cities–and also the vegetation in the land. But Lot’s wife looked back and, and she became a pillar of salt.

Remember Lot’s Wife  She became a pillar of salt when she looked back. She placed a higher priority in what she was leaving behind, her earthy possessions. In doing so, her action indicated regret for having left Sodom and for that she paid with her life.

 

Looking back denotes a hankering of mind after the world and also a return to the worldly life. For, first we look back, and then we go back.

 

Hebrews 10:38

If any man draws back, My soul shall have no pleasure in him.

 

Looking Straight Forward

 This is the basic focus in life:  To fix our eyes on Jesus Christ and His kingdom purpose.

 The command in Matthew 6:33 still stands firm: Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.

     

1. Fix our eyes on the Vision of the Cross

  • Constantly behold the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. The vision of cross can help us find our life’s anchor when we get distracted by the comforts, conveniences, and choices of life.

 

2. Fix our eyes on the Vision of the Kingdom

  • Constantly behold the ultimate Kingdom purpose of God for mankind. The vision of the Kingdom can help us find our life’s purpose when we get side tracked by the affairs of this world.

 

CONCLUSION 

You and I are called not only to a life SEPARATED from the world but also to a life SURRENDERED for the work of Christ.

What have you committed in your heart to do for God?

Have you been looking back lately? Have you given up on it? 

I believe Jesus is calling us again to follow    Him…to plow the field of our hearts and our ministries.

This time let’s follow him with an INTEGRITY OF HEART.

 

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