Luke 9:61, 62
And another also said, Lord, I will follow you; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house.
What more natural, we are inclined to say, than that, before setting out on an unknown future, a man should wish to say farewell at home? How do we account for this strictness, this disallowance of our Lord? First, however, let us remark -
I. WHAT CONSCIOUSNESS OF POWER AND OF ULTIMATE SUCCESS the Saviour shows! How eager we are to secure followers, how pleased and proud to add to our ranks! Especially when a cause is yet young are we desirous of making converts and counting new disciples. At this time the cause of Christianity was very far from being an assured success; yet Jesus did not hurry to be successful, to crowd his Church. He said to the scribe - not an ordinary disciple - "Foxes have holes," etc. (Matthew 8:19, 20; ver. 58). He risked the attachment of another (ver. 60); and again of this man (text). How was this? It was that he had such absolute confidence in the rectitude of his cause, in the support of his Divine Father, and therefore in the triumph of his truth and grace. It is never well to hurry even good issues; we should only work with right instruments, content to wait for the result. "He that believeth will not make haste." To the too-anxious workman there needs to come the remembrance of his Master's holy confidence; it says to such a one, "Be still, and know that I am God." We shall better understand our Lord's reply if we consider -
II. WHAT SUPERHUMAN KNOWLEDGE OF INDIVIDUAL HEARTS the Saviour shows! He did not commit himself to men; "for he knew what was in man. This is the key which unlocks the difficulty in many instances. It is this which explains how it was that he encouraged or accepted, how it was that he tested or declined, the services of men. And it is this which explains the differences in his treatment of us now; how it is that to one man he sends so many more trials and sufferings than to another; how it is that he withholds from one man so many bounties or privileges which he gives to another. He knows both perfectly; he knows their nature and their need, and he treats them accordingly.
III. THE FACT THAT CHRIST REQUIRES SPECIAL QUALIFICATIONS FOR SPECIAL WORK, There is a faith that removes mountains" of difficulty; but there is also a faith, much more common, which will do good work, though it will not accomplish such great things. Christ had work for the contemplative John which that man of speech and action, Peter, could not have done; work for the many-sided and devoted Paul which John could not have done. To "follow Christ" as this scribe (of our text) proposed to do was work which meant many and great things - the severance of old and strong ties, the endurance of privation, exposure to hatred and violence, readiness to look death in the face, self-immolation on the altar of a sacred cause. Jesus probably knew that this man had not the spiritual qualifications for such a sacrificial post as this. Even the common labourer must have concentration of mind; he must not have his hand on the plough while his eye is off the field. And the workman in his field of holy service must be a man of unflinching steadfastness, of unwavering resoluteness of soul. No other would be fit for such work as he had on hand. Surely it is far kinder of the Master to keep back, even by strong and apparently hard words, the unfit servant from the sphere in which he would fail miserably, than to let him go on and reap all the bitter fruits of failure; and surely it is wiser far, on our part, to reckon well beforehand, and see whether our mental and spiritual resources will carry us through a proposed service and to retire if we find ourselves unequal to it, than to go blindly forward and to have to come back with something else upon our brows than the crown of honour and success. We may also learn -
IV. WHAT ARE THE PRESENT, CONSTANT REQUIREMENTS which Jesus Christ makes of those who work for him. He is saying to us, "Follow me into the vineyard of holy usefulness." It is in our hearts to say, "Lord, I will follow thee." What must we have in order that he will readily engage us in his active service? We must have that spirit of self-surrender which will make us willing to give up to our Lord all that he asks us to part with; we must be whole-hearted, single-eyed. We must be workmen that have the hand on the plough and the eye on the field. We must be thorough in all that we do for him, contributing all our strength and energy in his cause. And there is every reason why we should be.
1. Our Master is worthy of the very best we can bring to him.
2. The sinful, suffering world around us is crying for our pity and our help.
3. It is well worth our while to do our utmost. In full-hearted service is the present recompense of sacred joy as we warm to our work and spend ourselves in it, while in the future there await us those" many cities," that enlarged sphere of influence which will reward the faithful followers of their Lord. - 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.