We all want to be on the winning team. When the crowds saw Jesus heal lepers, heal foreigners from a distance, and cast out demons, they wanted to join his group. Life under the Romans was hard and tortuous. Following a leader who could turn pain into joy sounded good. How often do we when we are experiencing a spiritual high want to stay there forever. The return to everyday life can be very discouraging. The leper was cured of his leprosy but now he had to reintegrate into society and find a place to live and work. I suspect, like people coming out of prison, the transition is hard. The Centurion’s servant was healed of his illness but had to return to being a servant. Answers to prayer do not make our lives suddenly easy!
“18 Now when Jesus saw great crowds around him, he gave orders to go over to the other side. 19 A scribe then approached and said, ‘ Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.’ 20 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.’ 21 Another of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, first let me go and bury my father.’ 22 But Jesus said to him, ‘Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead. (Matthew 8:18-22)”
Jesus makes two points to people who want to be his disciples. Once we open our hearts to the Kingdom of Heaven, the Kingdom of this World will never be our home again. Life will seem like we are homeless. And once we choose to follow Jesus, our priorities will be reorganized as we learn to live by kingdom values. I do not hearing him say, “Try it, you’ll like it,” to these people seeking to follow him. Jesus is very transparent that there is a price to pay for the decisions we make and the alliances we honor.
So perhaps this text challenges me to ponder where I am in my life. Perhaps life does does not feel like home and I bemoan that I just don’t fit in. Let us hope that is because our hearts are grounded in God’s kingdom and our relationship with him. We do have a home but just like people on a trip, the hotel is a second best for a good night’s sleep in our own bed. And perhaps we might scan our memories and make sure our values are reflecting kingdom values. Is there some tweaking that needs to be done? Jesus ends by saying, “follow me,” and don’t worry. He has our back! Blessings.