I will follow you wherever you go

Dear CBC family,

Matthew 8:18-22: When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake. Then a teacher of the law came to him and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” Another disciple said to him, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” But Jesus told him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”

This is one of those rare instances where someone said they were willing to follow Jesus “wherever He went.” It sounds like an unconditional commitment….or was it? As I read this text I wonder why we never hear from this man again. Could it be that he was caught up in the moment saying something he didn’t mean or was it that he simply had no idea what following Jesus was all about? I believe it was the second.

One thing we have a hard time accepting is that the world does not revolve around us. We are not the center of all things. Isn’t that, all too often, really our heart’s desire? We know it’s unrealistic, but honestly, what we really want is for everyone to do what we want and for everything to go our way. We want the world, and God included, to do what we want, focus on us and dance to our tune.

The reason for that is that we’ve been programmed with the idea that life – our lives in particular – should be filled with success. What’s success? Well, it’s whatever we want it to be – our way, our comfort and our tune. And that attitude, creeps into our relationship with God.

Consider for a moment our prayer life. How much of it involves asking God for stuff, with the basic idea in the back of our mind that His plans must surely revolve around us, our comfort, our desires and our success. But the Bible knows little, if anything, about worldly success.

The teacher of the law said; “Jesus, I will follow you any place you go.” Jesus said to him, “The foxes have holes to live in. The birds have nests. But the Son of Man has no place to rest.” Jesus is showing the man that following Him means not success or comfort, not retirement and parties, but difficulty, hardship and inconvenience. Jesus is simply frontloading the truth so the man saying he will follow knows exactly where Jesus leads. I can certainly say Jesus’ leading in my life has taken me many times to places I did not want to go. My plans and desires were simply superseded by His. In other words, He said no to my tune.

God’s plan for you, and for me, isn’t a life of comfort, but one of sacrifice and sometimes one of suffering. That’s why He spoke those words to the teacher whose heart was to follow Him but knew nothing of what that actually meant. Jesus is saying; “Don’t you realize? If you want to follow Me, it’s not going to be an easy ride. It’s not going to be a life of comfort and compromise, but of sacrifice and suffering. Your ways are not My ways. Your thoughts are not My thoughts. Your comfort is not My goal for you. My ways are not the ways of the world and you simply can’t follow Me expecting comfort, ease and pleasure as My plan for your life.”

That’s why the Bible says the Christian life means taking up our cross and following Christ. Jesus isn’t going to dance to our tune. Not everything’s always going to go our way. To put Him first means to take our agendas off the table and focus on His alone. It often will not be what we “want” but it is where our true joy and fulfilment lies.

Many say they will follow Jesus wherever He leads and then make their own plans and claim that they are His leading. Ask how He is more glorified in those plans and see how easy that is to answer. His path is narrow and the way is hard. That is the truth of His word. He has frontloaded our choice….…… so, will you follow Him anyway?

I am really looking forward to getting together with you all this weekend. It’s only been a couple of weeks but it seems like an eternity. I understand why God tells us not to forsake the gathering of the saints even more clearly than I ever did before COVID came to my house.

There is something life giving, and life sustaining, when God’s people gather to worship, pray and submit themselves to the teaching of His word that doesn’t happen any other way nor in any other place.

This weekend we will be back in Romans 10 for a life-altering look at the word of life. I pray you will join me and that together we will sit at His feet and learn His ways and perhaps be able to say when we leave, “Lord, we will follow you wherever you go”!

Blessings,

Pastor Scott