Luke 9:61-62  Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-bye to my family.”  Jesus replied, “No-one who puts his hand to the plough and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

Four years ago in TQW I referred to the ‘parable’ of the pig and the hen: A pig and a hen were walking along a country road when they came across a poor, starving man lying beside the road.  The hen suggested to the pig, “We should try and help this poor fellow.  What about if we give him a meal of bacon and eggs?”, to which the pig replied, “That’s OK for you – for you it is only a donation, but for me it’s a total sacrifice!”

Jesus left us in no doubt as to what is involved in answering his call: “Follow me.”  It is a wholehearted, life-long commitment, and not just a matter of ‘donating’ to him a part of our lives as the need arises and the good stewardship of our resources might permit.  It is easy for us to sing with enthusiasm, “Take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord, to thee; take my moments and my days, let them flow in ceaseless praise … Take my voice and let me sing ALWAYS, ONLY for my King; … Take my silver and my gold, not a mite would I withhold …”, and “All to Jesus, I surrender, all to him, I freely give …”, but often, when it comes to the crunch, our actions and attitude, sadly, come somewhat short of these otherwise genuine aspirations.

It is therefore good for us to read the Gospel accounts often and allow ourselves to be reminded of the claims Jesus makes on our whole lives.  This helps us to make a regular assessment of our own commitment to him, as well as discouraging us from offering ‘cheap grace’ in our evangelism programs.  Jesus said to the large crowds that were following him because of the benefits they could see in it: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.  For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.  What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?”  (Mark 8:34b-36).