I will, but…

Luke 9:57-62 (The Message)
The Message (MSG)

On the road someone asked if he could go along. “I’ll go with you, wherever,” he said.

Jesus was curt: “Are you ready to rough it? We’re not staying in the best inns, you know.”

Jesus said to another, “Follow me.”

He said, “Certainly, but first excuse me for a couple of days, please. I have to make arrangements for my father’s funeral.”

Jesus refused. “First things first. Your business is life, not death. And life is urgent: Announce God’s kingdom!”

Then another said, “I’m ready to follow you, Master, but first excuse me while I get things straightened out at home.”

Jesus said, “No procrastination. No backward looks. You can’t put God’s kingdom off till tomorrow. Seize the day.”

I came across this scripture last night at a new church service. I have probably read this story several times. I am sure that I have understood the gist of what the message was, but, last night this jumped out at me.

I noticed the repetitive phrase “I will follow, but…” It hit a nerve. I think probably cause I have heard it in my inner monologue more than I would like to hear it.

I heard someone say that the word “But” is a verbal eraser. When you use it, it erases whatever precedes it. For instance, “I would like to get on a regular schedule at the gym, but my work schedule is hard to work with.” Some might say I am making a mountain out of a mole hill. Some might say, that “but” allows us to qualify the statements. I am a little more black and white in my thinking. I say to that statement, if you would really like to get on a regular schedule at the gym, you would figure out a way to do it. You might call it a qualifier. I call it an excuse.

I think it is important for believers to count the cost. When we choose to follow, there is no room for “qualifiers.” Jesus wants to hear us stand behind him and say “I will follow” PERIOD. FULL STOP.

I think of all of the things that I want to accomplish in my lifetime. I think of the things in my immediate life that I would like to accomplish. I, unfortunately, have become to accustomed to using the word “but.” This scripture jumped out and convicted me to stop qualifying, to stop making excuses. I need to man up. I need to proudly stand and say “I WILL FOLLOW”

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Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson
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