‘And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”’ (Luke 9:58 ESV).

Luke listed three people that expressed a desire to follow Jesus, yet all three turned aside when they considered the cost.

The Lord challenged the material motivations of the first follower by pointing out that foxes and birds have places to live, but He had “nowhere to lay His head.” Following Jesus is not a means for worldly gain, but a call to deny oneself in this kingdom in pursuit of the eternal one.

The second potential follower expressed his desire to follow Jesus later, after a delay to do his duty for his father’s burial. Jesus’ reply seems harsh: “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” But the duty to bury his father could take a year or longer as he followed the tradition of putting the bones into an ossuary. The cost of following Jesus must take priority over other duties and it must be taken with a sense of urgency.

The third one who expressed desire to follow Jesus, asked to return home first to say goodbye to his family. Jesus warned that those who look back are not fit to follow. Following requires focus on Jesus, not the past. It also requires giving Jesus first priority over all others.

Through the years, I’ve noticed these same three reasons that people give for turning back from following Jesus. Whether they feel called to serve in the local church, to missions, or to church planting, the three concerns of 1) a desire for material things, 2) competing duties/priorities, or 3) family concerns, often cause people to give up on Christ’s call to ministry.

There is a cost to following Jesus in ministry. Lord, give us the faith to follow and the perseverance to finish the race for You. For there is a crown awaiting those who finish well.

PRAYER: Dear Father, we have decided to follow Your Son, Jesus. Deliver us from temptation to turn aside for earthly concerns. Strengthen us to persevere in doing the work of proclaiming the gospel to the nations. In Jesus’ name, amen.