Luke 9: 59-60
Fishing around in a drawer for a shirt I haven't worn in awhile, I came across this wadded-up t-shirt from a youth camp a few years ago. The camp theme was, "If Not Now, Then When?" That's an appropriate question for us to consider in our walk through life. And by the end of this devotional, I'll tell you about someone who positively answered this question just days ago.
As portrayed in my book-in-progress, "From Comfort Zone to Trust Zone: How Jesus Urges Us to Take Leaps of Faith for His Kingdom," the Gospels describe an urgent Jesus who proclaims the arrival of the kingdom of God and wants others to feel the urgency and immediacy of His requests, offers, and commands. He approaches future disciples in fishing boats, and they drop everything they're doing to follow Him. Tax collector Matthew doesn't hesitate, either. Jesus is ready to introduce everyone into His discipleship now.
But not everyone responds with the same immediacy. There's the curious case of this man in Luke 9: 59-60:
(Jesus) 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.”
It's unlikely that the man was late for his father's funeral, and Jesus was being crass about it. More likely, the context of his response was that he needed to be loyal to his father and wait until the father died (which might be any number of years away) before he could follow Christ. Jesus wasn't having any of that, telling him the time was now to join in and proclaim the kingdom.
It is very easy to put off God. We know God will always be there, so we can get to Him eventually. Seemingly more immediate tasks and pleasures stand in front of us. But day after day can slip by, and we never seem to get around to repenting, serving, worshipping, attending church, praying, or anything else that connects us to God so we can follow Him.
Recently someone reviewed my book, "Live Like You're Loved," on Amazon. She described a pattern of delaying her relationship with God:
I have gotten away from my faith over the years for a number of reasons, but primarily it's that the daily grind of life got in the way...I did a lot of self-reflecting while reading this book, and I'm happy to say I feel closer to God after reading this book.
Fortunately, as with this woman, you can change. You can say, "Now!" to the question, "When?" All it takes is to get started, in some way. Prayer. Bible reading. Searching for a church home. Maybe reading a book like "Live Like You're Loved," following its concrete steps to transform your life. Jesus is waiting, ready to whisk you into His kingdom's service.
Maybe this devotional doesn't apply to you, but I'm sure it does apply to someone you know. Perhaps several people. Please share this post and spread it to those who need to know that the time to act is now. For more on my ministry to teach Christians how to live a 7-day practical faith and my book/video study, "Live Like You're Loved," please visit CecilTaylorMinistries.com.