Leave the Good

{Matthew 8:21-22; NLT}

Another of his disciples said, “Lord, first let me return home and bury my father.”

But Jesus told him, “Follow me now. Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead.”

Consider what Erwin McManus wrote in Wide Awake:

I wonder if for many of us, the only thing stopping us from living the life God created us to live—the life of our dreams—is to let go of a life so good that it betrays the great. Are we willing to give up all the things we have right now to be able to obtain that which God longs for us tomorrow? (p. 106)

The obstacle that held this potential disciple back from following Jesus was not something evil, but something that was good (showing respect to his father). It was the good that prevented him from experienceing the life God created him to live.

I believe that same is true for us. Many times we are not held back by sin or addiction, but by good things. It is precisely because they are good that hides their danger from us.

We will say things like: “I will be more generous with my income, but first let me get out of debt.” Or, “Lord, I will serve more once the kids are out of the house.” Or, “Lord, I will learn to trust You, but let me accept this wonderful new job.” Over and over again we find excuses on why we cannot follow Jesus exactly the way he wants us to follow him.

Part of what Jesus told this disciple is that when we follow life will continue to go on. This disciple's father would be buried regardless of whether or not he was there. The lesson we should take away from this story is that we cannot let the good hold us back from doing what God has called us to do.

This is not going to be easy. Following Jesus is very difficult. To be a disciple requires us to make some tough choices. It requires us to give up the security of our plans and abandon ourselves to the call of Jesus into an uncertain future. It requires us to step out in faith, even if that means going alone. It requires us to rely on God's constant provision, rather than storing up our own security. The path Jesus wants us to take will go against common sense, traditions, and cultural expextations. In short to follow Jesus will appear to be the crazy and impractical thing to do.

It is very easy to get distracted and to allow our lives to be consumed by good things, but if Jesus calls us to give those things up we have to be ready to leave them behind. We cannot allow the good to prevent us from experiencing the great. The great is only found in following Jesus.

Questions to Consider:

  • Is there anything holding you back from fully following Jesus?
  • How would you feel if Jesus told you; “Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead?”
  • Why is it so hard to let go of the good things in life?


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