Reading: Luke 9: 51-62
Growth does not often occur on the mountaintops. It most often occurs in the valleys, in the hard times of life. In today’s story Jesus is heading for His final trip to Jerusalem. He is heading there to die. His fate may be some cause for their foul mood. After being rejected by a village, James and John want to call fire down from heaven. It is certainly not their first taste of rejection, so the reaction probably comes from their bad mood over what they know lies ahead. Sometimes we are this way as well.
As they continue, people approach Jesus wanting to follow Him. Each man has a ‘but first…’ to their request. One is concerned with shelter, one with burying his father, and another with having a proper goodbye with his family. Each turns away as Jesus harshly addresses their lack of commitment to placing Him first. Each of these ‘but first’ commitments resonate with us.
I will give of my time and resources Lord, but first let me set aside enough for all of my bills. I will serve you Lord, but first let me go take care of all these other responsibilities. I will be faithful to my prayer, Bible study, and worship disciplines, but first let me get in these activities and commitments. I will, I will, I will… but, but, but.
The life if disciple of Christ is difficult. The choice to place God first requires all else to get in line behind this commitment to our faith. It is a difficult commitment that daily requires setting aside self and saying, “Here I am Lord, use me”. It is truly a daily struggle, but may we struggle well this day and each day.