In scripture, and in life, Jesus doesn’t call people to some sort of vague belief in Him, but He calls people to follow Him. To make Him Lord, and to follow Him wherever it is that He is calling. That can lead to hard choices, to difficult decisions. It isn’t always easy. Listen to what we see in one of today’s readings, Luke 9: 57-62:
57 As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58 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.” 59 To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” 60 But Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” 61 Another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” 62 Jesus said to him, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
In the passage before this, Jesus has set His face toward Jerusalem. In other words, He knows He is heading to the cross. He knows what is coming. He knows difficult days are coming, but he has already begun His journey there.
Along the way, He has already faced rejection. Now, to three individuals He says, follow me. And they each reject, and we think, goodness that is harsh, especially the one that wants to bury his parents. But what this is one is saying is Lord, let me go home and after my parents have passed away (the fact that he mentions both means most likely they are still living). This is something that is yet to come, not something happening in that moment.
Each of these, when given the chance to follow, choose an excuse or comfort. It’s so easy to do that for each of us.
Sleeping in is easier than getting up early and reading our Bible and prayer. A lazy Sunday is easier is easier than getting to church for worship. Silence is easier than standing up for someone being bullied. Hiding our faith is easier than sharing the Gospel with words or actions.
It’s always easier to choose the other path.
But that path doesn’t lead to life. Only the path, following Jesus, leads to life. I always think of something that Bishop Ward said years ago – “Temptation promises life and leads to death; discipline promises pain but leads to long-term life.”
Today, choose the harder path that leads to life. Follow Jesus. That is where life was found for these in the text; that is where life is found for us today. Yes, the path may look hard, but it is where life is found. And Jesus (and His church) will walk it with you.