In an episode of “The Andy Griffith Show,” Sheriff Andy Taylor tries to offer a job to a vagrant. The vagrant explains that he can’t do hard work because he has a bad leg. When offered a job at a desk he explains that sitting too long makes his leg stiffen up. When offered a night watchman job he explains that the night air aggravates his rheumatism. In the end it is clear that the man simply doesn’t want a job at all.
In his ministry Jesus called some people to follow him, to become one of his disciples, to do ministry with him. In this passage how does the first man respond? How does Jesus respond to the second?
At first blush Jesus may appear hard-hearted in these encounters. Has he no sympathy to the one who has lost his father? Has he no compassion for the one who would like to see his family one last time?
Jesus is sympathetic and compassionate, but what we have here is Jesus seeing through the excuses being made. He knows that the one who was called and the one who claims to want to follow are not dedicated enough to become true disciples.
The excuses seem valid to us, but the point of the whole encounter is that any excuse will do for the person who will not assume the responsibility of being a true disciple of Christ.
Each of us is summoned to do the work of the kingdom of God. Each of us is summoned to be our brother’s keeper. Each of us is called to be committed to doing the will of God, serving in whatever capacity we can.
But most are too eager to find any reason at all not to do the work. We allow our job responsibilities, our family obligations and our financial status to keep us from doing what we are called to do. All are valid excuses, and I am not encouraging anyone to abandon the responsibilities of their livelihood or their family. Nor am I encouraging anyone to put themselves into poverty.
But the question is, when will we accept the call of Christ? When will we accept the responsibility of doing God’s work? When will we stop making excuses and start serving the Lord?
DAILY CHALLENGE: How can you avoid making excuses to not do God’s work?