130630 Luke 9:57-62

Last Updated on Monday, 01 July 2013 Written by Pastor Schmidt

Sermon Text: Luke 9:57 – 62

Sermon Theme: Take a Closer Look at Your Priorities!

As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go." Jesus replied, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head." He said to another man, "Follow me." But the man 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." Still another said, "I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family." Jesus replied, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God."

This is the Word of the Lord.

Look up the word "priority" and you will find a definition such as "a thing that is regarded as more important than another." Recent polls tell us that the American people want our leaders in Washington, DC to give their highest priority to creating jobs and improving our nation's economy. Talk to our son Nathan, and he may tell you that one of his highest priorities this summer is hitting the baseball hard or making the next basket. Whether you agree with his politics or not, I think our 43rd President, George W. Bush, had something good for us to hear about priorities when he said, "I would like to be remembered as a guy who had a set of priorities, and was willing to live by those priorities." How about you? Will people remember you as one who was willing to live by the priorities you have set for yourself? Are they God-pleasing priorities? Today, as we continue to take a closer look at the Gospel of Luke, our Savior encourages you and me to Take a Closer Look at Your Priorities.

Our Savior's words here in Luke chapter 9 may sound very harsh when we first hear them. But, it is important to remember that this is the All-Knowing Lord who is speaking. He knows what is in the hearts of these would be followers. He knows that they are only making excuses as to why they aren't really willing to make it a priority to follow him. As the author of the Peoples' Bible on Luke writes, "These are hard sayings. They dare not be interpreted in isolation from the rest of Scripture, especially the commandment so often repeated by Jesus, 'Love one another.' In these statements Jesus is obviously making a strong statement to get across the point he wants to make for all who would follow him: you will need to be ready to make sacrifices. To be a follower of Jesus means to be ready to reorder the priorities of this earthly life." (page 119)

 

We are told: "As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, 'I will follow you wherever you go.' Jesus replied, 'Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.'" This man seems eager to become one of Jesus' followers. But the Lord points out to him that to be his follower would mean giving up things; having even less than birds and foxes. In other words, Jesus' was saying, "Count the cost of being my follower. Are you willing to give up many of the earthly things you come have to enjoy?

 

Jesus himself approached the second man to follow him. But the man replied, "'Lord, first let me go and bury my father.'" This seems like a reasonable request. But Jesus answers, "'Let the dead (that is, the spiritually dead) bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.'" In other words, Jesus is telling this man that someone else can take care of this family obligation when the time comes. Instead, he should go out and proclaim the Good News of spiritual life through the Savior. The Lord wants this man to think about who is more important: a family member or the Savior. As someone once said, "Making a relationship with Jesus a top priority may result in conflicting loyalties."

 

Finally, we are told about one more person who approaches Jesus, saying that he is willing to follow the Savior. But, "'first let me go back and say good-by to my family.' Jesus replied, 'No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.'" Jesus doesn't want his followers to look back at all the things they are giving up to become his followers. Rather, he wants them looking forward to see all the work that needs to be done in sharing the message of God's Word with others.

 

As you hear these words of Jesus, as you take a closer look at your priorities, I am sure that you would join with me in confessing that there are times when we fail to make our Lord, our relationship with him, living for him, spreading his Word a top priority in our lives. Not one of us here this morning would be willing to stand before the Lord himself, look him in eye, and tell him that we never once broke the First Commandment. Think of all the times just during this past week that you and I failed to make it a priority to fear, love and trust in God above all things.

 

But the Good News for us to hear today is that Jesus made saving you and me a top priority of his. Jesus willingly came to this earth as our perfect substitute. It was always a priority of our Savior to obey the First Commandment, along with the other nine. Making our salvation a priority, Jesus offered up his perfect life as the full payment price for your sins and mine. Because of our Savior's perfect life, his innocent suffering and death and his glorious resurrection from the dead, you and I hear Good News such as we heard in our First Lesson for today: "[God] had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened."

 

My dear Friends in Christ, take a closer look at your priorities. Do your priorities show that your relationship with the one true God is the most important relationship in your life? Do your priorities show that sharing the message of God's Word is the most important work in your life? Do your priorities show that you are willing to give up the things of this world to be a follower of Jesus? Why does a congregation such as ours, which has been so richly blessed by our loving Lord, struggle each year to meet our annual budget? Why are we so slow in moving forward to carry out the long range plan we as a congregation approved four years ago or to complete the ministry efforts we started over a decade ago? Ask yourself this question: Do I as an individual, do we as a congregation, need to take a closer look at our priorities?" I would suggest to you that the answer to that question is "Yes!" It is always good for you and me to reexamine the priorities in our lives. As you and I do this, we remember that it is in response to the love of Jesus, who made saving us his top priority, that you and I make living for our Savior-God a top priority in our lives.

 

Some of the priorities that you and I have may be different. What may be a priority for adults may not be a priority for children. What may be a priority for a family may not be a priority for a single person. But, as a follower of Christ, as you hear your Savior speak to you today from his Word, take a closer look at your priorities. As you do, as those priorities focus more and more on being a follower of Jesus, you will be happier. His work will get done. More people will hear about their Savior, Jesus. And our Savior-God will receive the praise and glory he alone deserves. Amen.

Our Mission Statement:

Compelled by the love of Christ, St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and School seek to reach out to our families, community and world, using Law and Gospel to make disciples, growing and nurturing them in their Christian faith and life.

 

Worship Schedule

Sunday
8:00 A.M. & 10:30 A.M.

9:15 A.M. Bible Study for All Ages

Monday at 7:00 P.M.

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Sunday at 10:00 A.M.
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St. Matthew's Lutheran Church
818 West Wisconsin Avenue
Oconomowoc, WI 53066
262-912-6060

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