As a teacher, I did not like excuses from my students for missing work. I remember giving my students this illustration. I brought in a jar and filled it about two-thirds full with salt, which represented the fun things in life, like
sports, cell phone, etc. Then I attempted to put a jar full of unshelled pecans,
which represented the important things, like homework, chores, etc., in with the salt. The pecans did not fit. I emptied the jar and started over. I put the important things in first (the pecans) and then the salt. The salt filled up all the spaces around the pecans and both fit in the jar! The lesson was that when we put the important things in first place, everything else falls into place. I know this, but I often forget.
We read in Luke 9: 57-62 about three men who had excuses for not following Jesus. The first man had too many possessions and didn’t want to give them up to go on the road with him. Following Jesus takes priority over our possessions.
The second man said he would follow Jesus, but first he needed to bury his father. This didn’t mean that his father had just died. It was Jewish custom to bury the dead within 24 hours, so we know that the man wouldn’t be out listening to Jesus if he was preparing for a burial! He used an expression of the time that meant that he would follow Jesus after he cared for
his father until death. He was actually saying that in a few years he would follow Jesus. Jesus didn’t have a few years left of his earthly ministry. The man was a procrastinator. In all likelihood, he would run out of time himself to follow Jesus. Following Jesus takes priority over our plans.
The third man volunteered to follow Jesus, but first he wanted to say goodbye to his family. Jesus knew that if he went back, the young man’s family would persuade him to stay home. Following Jesus takes priority over our past.
Trust in Christ results in commitment. This year, I am trying to kick the but habit. Will you try too?