As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “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.”
He said to another man, “Follow me.” But the man replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
Still another said, “I will follow you Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family.” Jesus replied, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”
Luke 9: 57-62 NIV
We recall that the disciples dropped what they were doing and followed when Jesus called them to follow him. They made no excuses. They were trusting that family would understand and that other members or friends would fill in for them.
While I do not think that Jesus meant to say that we should neglect family or loved ones, I do think He meant to emphasize to those who would take the high calling of pure ministry that they would have to put the “call” first. Then they would have to maintain their first love always. Such total dedication does not come with assurances of home, hearth, wealth, or personal gain. A devoted minister would need to put the love of Jesus above all else.
While many are called, only a few are truly chosen for this totally dedicated vocation. Many dedicated Christians still compromise their devotion with personal need. While we may smile and nod or get defensive, it is probably true that with every such compromise, our pure ministry weakens a little.
I think God understands our humanity, though, and would still encourage us to continue in the faith, doing the best we can humanly do. There is a great beauty in those who are humble about their human failings but stalwartly continue in their dedicated belief and service. There is a great beauty in the supreme love of God who confronted the limits of humanity in the life of Jesus…and understands. There is great beauty in the Love that will not let us go and the endless forgiveness of God who experiences from the inside out human weakness and longing.
And thank God!–it is this loving God who sent Jesus to make up our shortfall.