What (Not) to Expect

Read: Luke 9:57-62

I will follow you wherever you go. (v. 57)

Most of us can find ourselves among these would-be followers that Jesus encounters on his way to Jerusalem. The first was eager to follow but had no clue how limited living conditions would be. The second was willing but wanted to finish the obligations created by his father’s death, which would delay him for months. The third just wanted to say goodbye to family. None of these were onerous, but they all added conditions to their participation, as if to say, “I will go, but . . .”

Jesus wasn’t having it. “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God” (v. 62). It isn’t that we should be ultra minimalists or unconcerned about family relationships. But when we decide to follow, we follow. There are no conditions. Jesus obeyed the Father “to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Phil. 2:8). His instruction to any who would follow was clear, “Let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Mark 8:34).

This is not a stoic, stiff-upper-lip following. It’s a following that exudes joy. It was “for the joy set before him” that Jesus “endured the cross” (Heb. 12:2). Psalm 126:5 sings, “Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy!” Martyred missionary Jim Elliot expressed it when he said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” May we be so ready to follow Jesus!

As you pray, seek first the kingdom of God.

About the Author

Rev. Jon Opgenorth serves as president of Words of Hope. Previously, he served for 18 years as senior pastor at Trinity Reformed Church in Orange City, Iowa. In preparation for ministry, he received a BA in Religion from Northwestern College, and an MDiv from Fuller Theological Seminary.

This entry is part 2 of 10 in the series Sent: Preparing for Mission Trips