And another also said, Lord, I will follow you; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house.…
Lord, I will follow thee; but, etc. Two trains may leave the same platform and travel for a while along the same lines, and they may look as if they would reach the same terminus; 'but one of them diverges slightly to the right and the other to the left, and then the further they go the greater is the distance that separates them. Two children born under the same roof, brought up under the same religious conditions, are baptized into the same faith, receive the same doctrines, are affected by the same influences; - they should reach the same home. But they do not. One makes a resolution to serve God outright, unconditional, without reserve; he says simply, deliberately, "I will follow thee;" but the other makes a resolution under reserve, with conditions attached - he says, "Lord, I will follow thee; but," etc. The one of these two goes on, goes up, in the direction of piety, zeal, devotedness, sacred joy, holy usefulness; the other goes down in that of hesitation, oscillation between wisdom and folly, and finally of impenitence and spiritual failure. We will look at -
I. THE MAN OF INDECISION ALONG THE LINE COMMON TO HIMSELF AND THE MAN OF RELIGIOUS EARNESTNESS.
1. They both receive instruction in the common faith; they learn and admit the great fundamental truths of the gospel - the life, death, resurrection, teaching of Jesus Christ.
2. They are both impressed by the surpassing excellence of Christ; for there is in him now, as there was when he lived among men, that which constrains admiration, reverence, attraction.
3. They both feel the desirableness of availing themselves of the blessings of the gospel of grace - of the pardon, peace, joy, worth, hope, immortality, which it offers to the faithful. And when Christ's voice is heard, as it is in many ways, each of these men is prepared to say, "Never man spake, Lord, as thou speakest to me; no one else will give me what thou art offering; evermore give me this living bread, this living water. Lord, I will follow thee."
II. THE MAN OF INDECISION AT THE POINT OF DIVERGENCE. He says not, simply and absolutely, "I will; "he says, "I will follow thee; but," etc. One word more, but how much less in fact and in truth? What is in that qualifying word?
1. But 1 am young, and there is plenty of time. I am a long way off the "three score and ten years;" and all along the road of life there are paths leading into the kingdom; let me go on unburdened by such serious claims as these of thine. "I will," etc., but not yet.
2. But 1 have a bodily as well as a spiritual nature, and I must satisfy its claims. These hungerings and thirstings of the sense are very strong and imperious; let me drink of this cup, let me lay by those treasures first.
3. I am waiting for some decisive intimation from Heaven that my time has come. I do not wish to act precipitately or presumptuously; I am looking for the prompting of the Divine Spirit, the direction of the Divine hand; when the Master says distinctly, "Follow thou me," I will arise at once.
4. I am in embarrassed circumstances, and am waiting until they clear away. The claims of the business or the home are so urgent, so near, so practical, that they consume my time, and I have none to spare for thee; there are bonds I have formed which I do not know how to break, but which must be broken if thy friendship is to be made and kept.
5. But I am old and unable. I have heard thy voice in my ear in earlier days; but I am old and spiritually blind; old and deaf; old and insensitive. I do not expect thee to come this way again; I would follow thee if I felt once more the touch of thy hand upon me.
III. THE GREATNESS AND SADNESS OF HIS MISTAKE. A grievous thing it is for a man to buoy himself up with such false imaginations, to build his house of hope on such shifting sands, to rest the weight of his destiny on such a sapless, strengthless reed.
1. Does death never lay his cold and hard hand on youth? and does not Christ command our strength and our beauty as well as our feebleness and our unsightliness?
2. Does Christ ask us to give up one rightful pleasure? and had we not better sacrifice all wrongful ones? And has he not promised all we need if we do but take the one true step into his kingdom (Matthew 6:33)?
3. No man is waiting for God; but God is waiting for many halting and hesitating human souls. Behold, he stands at the door and knocks!
4. We are not more embarrassed than thousands have been, or more than we shall continue to be. If it is hard to find time, then for a purpose so supreme as this time must be made; if evil friendships are in the way, they must be made to stand out of the way. The voice that speaks from heaven is commanding; the case of our eternal destiny is critical in the very last degree.
5. It is true that long disuse is dangerously disabling, and spiritual capacity wanes with neglect; but men are not too deaf to hear the sovereign voice of Christ, not too blind to find their way to his cross, his table, his kingdom. - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house.