Luke 9:51-62 (NRSV)
Verse 51When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. Verse 52And he sent messengers ahead of him. On their way they entered a village of the Samaritans to make ready for him; Verse 53but they did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. Verse 54When his disciples James and John saw it, they said, "Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?" Verse 55But he turned and rebuked them. Verse 56Then they went on to another village.
Verse 57As they were going along the road, someone said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go." Verse 58And 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." Verse 59To another he said, "Follow me." But he said, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father." Verse 60But Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God." Verse 61Another said, "I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home." Verse 62Jesus said to him, "No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God."
While on the path following Jesus, what space is there for the normal concerns of life? Aren’t there some reasonable expectations that go along with the journey? Like a place to rest at the end of the day? Or actions that show proper respect for our parents or our elders? Or taking time to say a proper farewell to those who are left behind?
Notice in the second encounter, the Jesus command changes from “follow” to “go and proclaim the kingdom.” Is Jesus acknowledging that other responsibilities are part of following, because wherever we are, we can proclaim God’s reign which is “righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 14:17)
What about the rear-view? Learning from the past is necessary. Yet we are following the One who is always leading forward in “triumphal procession” toward the end of the journey. (2 Corinthians 2:14)
Loving God, you know the many tasks calling for my attention. Guide me, so that in all I do, I may also share your gifts of righteousness, peace, and joy in your Holy Spirit. Amen.