“Let Me First”

“Let Me First”

Every parent (and probably every teacher) knows what this is like. You tell your kid to do something and the immediate response is something like, “Ok, but first I’m going to do this other thing.” What’s going on in that response? “This other thing” has taken priority over whatever the child has been instructed to do. The child thinks he/she knows better than the parent and that what he/she wants to do is more important.

Fortunately, kids grow out of that. Right? There aren’t any adults who respond with a “but first” I am going to do something else. Right? And surely there aren’t any Christians who respond with a “but first” I am going to do this other thing. Right? In Luke 9, there was a scribe who came to Jesus and said, “Lord, I will follow You wherever You go” (9:57). Jesus warned him that it was not a position of earthly prominence to be in His kingdom, as even Jesus had “nowhere to lay His head” (9:58). Jesus then turned to another and said, “Follow Me” (9:59). Notice, like one of those children illustrated above, how he responded.

“But he said, ‘Lord, let me first go and bury my father’” (9:59). The Lord gave him a command, but he does not respond as if Jesus is truly “Lord.” He had something else that was more important than doing what Jesus had instructed him to do, as evidenced in his words, “Let me first.”

A second man also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house” (9:61). Again, this man addresses Jesus as “Lord,” but does not treat Jesus as “Lord.” In essence, he said, “I will do what you want me to do, but first I am going to do what I want to do.”

Note Jesus’ direct censure of this type of attitude— “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” (9:62).

Let me ask you—Do you have any moments in your life when you look at the expectations of our LORD and say to Him (perhaps in action more than actual words), “Lord, let me first go and do something else that is more important in my eyes right now”? Let me follow that up by asking this very sobering question—How is that any different than the little child who responds to a parent’s directions, “Ok, but first I’m going to do this other thing”? There is NO difference! In that moment, we are being as irresponsible and selfish as that little child.

May God help us to (1) put our hand to the plow in His kingdom and (2) not look back at what we could do first! Christ, and Christ alone, must be first (Matt. 6:33; Col. 1:18)!


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