October 20, 2005 • By Ed Wrather10.20.05
Now it happened as they journeyed on the road, that someone said to Him, “Lord, I will follow You wherever You go.” 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.” Then He said to another, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.” And another also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.” But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” - Luke 9:57-62.
Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” - Luke 9:23.
Three years ago, Brett Backwell broke his ring finger playing Australian Rules football. Since breaking his finger, Brett has experienced much pain from the injury. Doctors suggested that he have the bone of the finger fused, but Bret has decided on a different option. To keep on playing football at the professional level, he has had half of his ring finger amputated. Brett says, “It's not something that's been done lightly and to chop a finger off, it's a bit drastic. But I love my footy and love playing sport and if that's going to help me to succeed at this level then it's something you've just got to do.” Ken Applegarth the Glenelg club manager says, “The decision was an emotional one that confirmed Backwell's commitment to his sport.”
Commitment is not a popular term in today’s world and to hear of anyone being truly committed to anything is somewhat shocking. We see signs of a lack of commitment everywhere. The divorce rate is still climbing, but also those living together outside of marriage are increasing with one-third of all children being born out of wedlock as the evidence of it. Surveys show that brand loyalty has decreased. There are fewer numbers of people who are willing to join any organization and the percentage of those willing to fight for their country has continued to drop. Parents today, are less willing to remain in a marriage just for the sake of their children. It has also been observed that those agreeing to attend or participate in an event, but who later do not show up or back out is continuing to increase.
A lack of true commitment has been a problem for the cause of Christ since the beginning. Jesus experienced first hand people who were somewhat involved until there was a cost involved, and then they turned away from Him. Until, after the resurrection, the record of the disciples who were totally committed to Him was very, very few - most of them fled when the going got tough fearing that they themselves would be crucified.
Jesus never says that being a Christian is easy. He does say that His yoke is easy, but it is still a yoke. Jesus indicates up front that it is not an easy road when he says, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” He makes it even clearer when He says, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” In other words, take up your instrument of execution every day and follow Him. Put your own personal desires, wants, dreams, habits, addictions, lusts to death every day and follow Him. That is a commitment indeed!
The kind of commitment that Jesus calls us to is very difficult, but the alternative is so much worse. The only way we can really have life and really live life to the ultimate is through a true commitment to Jesus Christ. Have you renewed your commitment to Him today? If so, rise up and follow Him.