"As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, 'I will follow you wherever you go.' Jesus replied, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.'" (Luke 9 verses 57-58)
Throughout the week I talked to some people about what bothered them in their life. Most of the responses had something to do with work, and how procedures there were always changing. And I agree with them. Personally, I prefer to have some consistency in my life (though I rarely get it), and small things like this can be really frustrating.
As a Christian though, I find that on a wider scale this consistency is particularly difficult to maintain, and I sometimes wonder if my efforts are of no use. I suppose that this stems from the fact that as Christians we are subjected to all sorts of troubles, which in turn creates this inconsistency. The Bible says, "Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ..." (1 Peter 4 verses 12-13)
Hence those inconsistencies related to our Christian walk should be embraced, as opposed to us trying to prevent them.
"He said to another man, 'Follow me.' But the man 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 verses 59-60)
If we know the correct way to live, why don't we do it? I confess. I am a procrastinator, kind of like the guy Jesus was speaking to. When given an instruction, I tend to try and put off doing it, especially if it is a laborious or daunting task.
But when it comes to our calling to do good works, we must be careful not to get caught up with the other things in our life, or putting our own feelings first. Jesus has provided us with this insight and it is our responsible to act on it: "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says."(James 1 verse 22)
So since we are no longer bound by trying to achieve a consistent life in the world, we should be getting out there, and taking the opportunities provided by God to share the good news with everyone else.
"Still another said, 'I will follow, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-bye to my family.' Jesus replied, 'No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.'" (Luke 9 verses 61-62)
We are instructed that we must be born again in order to enter the kingdom of God. As part of this, it is inferred that there is no turning back.
I pose this question: Why is it that we turn back? Is it because of our doubts; as if we didn't trust God more than ourselves? Is it because we don't believe we can handle anymore suffering; acting as though God didn't say he won't put us through more than we can endure?
Or is it because we convince ourselves temptations laid out in front of us are too great; as though God hasn't said that he won't let us be tempted with more than we can resist?
Jesus says: "Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." (Matthew 10 verse 39)
If we can learn to let go of our doubts and obsession with living a successful and pain-free life in the world, and fully place our trust in God's promises, even in the face of trials, that is truly when we gain life.
Tim Robertson is from Sydney and is studying engineering at UNSW
Tim Robertson's previous articles may be found at www.pressserviceinternational.org/tim-robertson.html