He said to another man, “Follow me.” But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:59-60)
When I was in high school, a friend from my youth group asked me out. He was like a brother, so I didn’t want to go out with him. Yet, I didn’t want to hurt his feelings. I made up an excuse. He asked me out again, so I had to tell him the truth. I wasted a lot of time worrying and thinking of an excuse. I learned that making excuses isn’t honest.
Jesus knows the truth and knows when we’re making excuses. The second would-be follower makes an excuse not to follow Jesus. If his father had passed, the man would’ve been home mourning and preparing for the funeral, and Jesus wouldn’t have been so harsh. Perhaps this man is looking into the future and wants to be there for his father if he incurs a debilitating illness. But being paralyzed with fear about the future, makes us dead to the present. Those dead bury themselves by making excuses to the all-knowing Jesus. Jesus realizes that following Him is not always easy. Even though the man made excuses, Jesus still loved Him and wanted Him to follow.
Heavenly Father, Nudge me when I worry about the future and give me Your power to be alive in the present. Counsel me to make the right decisions, and let me be honest, without excuses, when I respond so I can proclaim Your kingdom. Even though I’m not perfect, thank you for loving me enough to want to follow you. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.