I hope that you have noticed lately, that I have been spending a great deal of time in my lessons talking about God’s marvelous grace. Do you remember what Paul wrote to Titus? “But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit…” (Titus 3:4-5) It is so important that this be understood so we can safely transition to what God so desperately wants us to pursue in life; that is, His will through transformation. If you recall from last week’s lesson, one of the reasons Paul expresses the previous words, was in order to inspire God’s people on how they should conduct themselves, which is part of God’s will. Although God has “done the heavy lifting” when it comes to salvation, there is still work to be done or as Paul told Titus, “those who believed in God should be careful; to maintain good works” (Titus 3:8).. God made a committed to do all He could to save sinful man and has followed it through with the giving of His Son, so what will be our response?
Now it happened as they Journeyed on the road, that someone said to Him,
“Lord, I will follow You wherever You go.”
Recently, while watching the television, a commercial came on for Planet Fitness. Remember, the intent of advertising is to attract people to your product. The emphasis of the commercial was “NO COMMITMENT MEMBERSHIP.” I can say with certainty; I have never achieved any objective without commitment…ever! Well, Jesus didn’t mix words with those who wished to follow Him during His ministry on earth, a ministry that lasted only three shorts years. First, He lets them know that the road ahead is not easy, saying, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head” (Luke 9:58). He is not discouraging someone from following Him, He is simply being honest about the journey ahead. Then, Jesus encourages another to follow Him, but that person expresses, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father” (Luke 9:59). Reasonable request it would seem, right? But Jesus knew His death was soon and there was no time for delay in preaching “the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:60). Then, another expresses the willingness to follow Him, but first wants to “go and bid them farewell who are at my house” (Luke 9:61). Jesus responds to him with these very sobering words, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62).
If you recall, in last week’s lesson I spoke of our need as disciples of Christ to “deny ourselves (himself), and take up our (his) cross, and follow Me”; that is, Jesus Christ (Matthew 16:24). As I reflect on this time in Jesus’s ministry, as He challenged those who wished to follow Him, I am reminded of the need for commitment. So many want the benefits with as little commitment as possible, both then and now. Jesus knows that such an attitude will not benefit the cause of the gospel. As one person put it, “As a farmer could not plow straight furrows with his head back over his shoulder, so no one could really follow Jesus with less than full resolution.”
I am thankful for God’s continued mercy as we journey homeward, for I am in need of His forgiveness, because I at times, look back and become distracted. It is during these moments that I must recommit myself to Him, knowing what He has already committed to me through His Son Jesus Christ. So, with hand on the plow, let’s work the field together!