Read Luke 8 -- 9
In Today’s Reading:
Jesus' teaching; more miracles; 12 apostles sent forth; 5,000 fed; Peter's confession; transfiguration; healing of the boy with an evil spirit; the Samaritans' refusal to receive Jesus; tests of discipleship.
Jesus put the sincerity of would-be disciples to the test when a certain man 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 (Luke 9:57-58). The foxes illustrate the clever ones and the birds of the air illustrate the worldly. Jesus pointed out to this man that if he chose to follow Him he could expect hardships. Jesus was also saying that He was not attached to earthly possessions, nor could His followers expect any guarantee of earthly resources.
Through Matthew's account, we learn that this "certain man" held the position of a Scribe (Matthew 8:18-22). His moral and religious life were above reproach. Yet, he is just another example of how being too involved in "good" activities keep some from allowing Christ to be Lord of their lives.
Another also said, Lord, I will follow[You]; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are . . . at my house. And Jesus said [to] him, No man, having put his hand to the [plow], and looking back (to the things left behind or to other attractions), is fit for the Kingdom of God (Luke 9:61-62). Our Lord did not welcome volunteers who were only willing to join Him on their own terms; serving Christ is a lifetime commitment. Love dictated the seriousness of following Him. He was not in the midst of a membership drive, nor counting converts to establish His success.
Self-seekers and compromisers are deceived into believing that there will be a more convenient time when they can choose to follow the Lord. Their excuses reveal divided hearts, while other things are given higher priority than serving Christ. Some lack the "single eye" of devotion to Christ where, by comparison, all else in this world is of little importance. Others thoughtlessly fail to put Christ first in their daily decisions. Yet, all who do put Him first will discover that the satisfaction of self-denial far exceeds fleeting earthly rewards. Each of us needs to consider if there is someone in our life, or something in our heart, that keeps us from giving first place to Christ, His Word, and His will.
The more carefully we read God's Word and listen to the Holy Spirit, the more worldly ambitions fade into insignificance.
Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the [world] seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you (Matthew 6:31-33).
Thought for Today: Worldly ambitions fade into insignificance when we really devote ourselves to the Lord through His Word.
8:23 jeopardy = exposed to injury or death; 8:44 stanched = to stop the flow of; 8:46 virtue = power from a supernatural being; 9:3 scrip = small bag for money or food; staves = staffs; 9:29 glistering = shining with brilliance.
For Luke 8:10: See Isa. 6:9.
Government Officials: Rep. Mary Bono (CA), Rep. José Serrano (NY), and Rep. Bradley Sherman (CA) · Pray for the President · Country: Benin (6 million) in western Africa · Major languages: French and tribal languages · Some hostility toward Christians · 59% animism and voodoo; 17% Muslim; 16% Roman Catholic; 3% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Let the Lord have all your worries and cares; He is always thinking about you and things that concern you (I Peter 5:7).
Memory Verse for the Week: Romans 13:2