Commitment to Follow Jesus

Matthew 8: 18-22
Gn 18:16-33 / Psa 103

Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head.
(Matthew 8:20)

May the Holy Spirit’s fire fall
And consume all our fears and doubt;
So that it may be plain to all
What commitment is all about

When Jesus saw the crowd around Him, He gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake. Then a teacher of the law approached and said to Him, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus answered him, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head.” Another disciple said to Him, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” But Jesus told him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.” (Matthew 8:18-22).

Reflection

Why did our Lord give orders to cross to the other side of the lake when a crowd of people were following Him? It was because He knew they had the wrong motive in wanting to be His disciples. The crowds had seen Him perform many miracles: healing the sick and driving out demons. Most of them were either just curious about His powers, or wanted to make Him their king, which was contrary to His mission.

Jesus did not care about numbers when He started to organize His Church. There was time enough for that. He was more interested in the quality of its members, particularly in their commitment to follow Him and later on in carrying out His mission of redemption. Not the erudition of a scribe nor the compassion of a disciple for his own dead father would be enough to qualify one to be a disciple of Christ. One had to be willing to put the Lord above everything, at any time and at any cost.

We were witness to the commitment and dedication of our service team and group leaders when we held the “Baptism of the Holy Spirit” rites last Saturday evening for 30 participants in our community’s first Brotherhood Christian Life Program. The grace of the Holy Spirit was palpable in the inspiring songs of praise and worship which the members of our music ministry rendered so beautifully. Tears of joy flowed, and even tongues of praise as the teams of prayer partners encouraged the participants to open their minds and hearts to the bidding of the Holy Spirit. It is truly a joyful and memorable experience to be involved in the spiritual transformation of men and women who are seeking a deeper, more meaningful relationship with the Lord. But it requires a higher level of commitment to be able to forego the luxury and comfort of family, sports or hobbies, or even business opportunities to be able to effectively serve the demands of winning others for Christ. For nine weeks, every Saturday afternoon, from one o’clock to six o’clock, we have to attend the seminars and discussions, patiently orienting the candidates to a new way of life in the renewal. Faith in God’s graces sustains our zeal, and love for our aspiring candidates to become members of our brotherhood gives life to our service.

The conditions for following Jesus leave no room for concessions. As our Lord showed in His own passion and death, we must be focused and resolute in pursuing the ultimate purpose of our life, whatever conditions may prevail against it. Jesus even said, “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God” (Lk.9:62).

The gate may be narrow and the road constricted (Mt.7:14), but once we have made the sincere commitment to follow our Lord Jesus, we realize (perhaps because of the Spirit’s gift of joy) that indeed His yoke is easy, and His burden is light (Mt.11:30).

We pray for Your Spirit’s guidance and inspiration, Lord God, that we may be able to bring more members into the Brotherhood of our Lord Jesus. Grant that our commitment to serve in Your vineyard will never flag until the end of our days. Amen.

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