Some come to Jesus for health and wealth. Sadly, in our consumer-driven society, sometimes we feel as though need to make Christianity attractive. Interestingly, Jesus doesn’t seem to share our modern “seeker-friendly” methods. When people wanted to follow Him, He gave them some pretty stringent conditions.
Luke 9:57–62 tells us that Jesus told one person that if they wanted to follow Him, they should be ready to be homeless (vv. 57–58). He told others who wanted to spend time with their family before following Him that, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God (v. 62 NIV).
These seem to be some pretty harsh conditions for someone who wants people to follow Him. Jesus certainly didn’t make it easy. I think the secret to why He did that is actually found earlier in this same chapter in Luke 9:24–25. It states, “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?”
Over and over, God’s Word teaches us that our life here is but a breath. We are here today and can be gone tomorrow. But eternity is forever!
Scripture gives us glimpses of what eternity is like. In Revelation 21 and 22 we see a place of no sin, no pain, and no tears. There we see a garden so beautiful and a city where the river of the water of life flows right through it. We are shown a picture of heaven where there is no need for the sun’s light because the glory of God is so radiant, He lights up the place. Angels worship daily. We can picture a city made of gold and walls around the city made of the most exquisite precious jewels. Jesus promises in John 14:2 that in His Father’s house, there are many rooms prepared for those who believe in Him.
When we truly begin to grasp that everything here is temporary and everything there is eternal, we understand why Jesus was on a mission to save all who would follow Him. In light of eternity, everything on earth is dim. Storing treasures is as useless as is wasting time on things other than preparing for heaven and showing others that faith in Jesus is the only way to get there. That is when we begin to understand what Jesus meant by the need to lose your life in order to save your life. If you want to follow Him, you need to deny yourself. If you follow Him, you may not have a place to lay your head.
Let me testify like David did in Psalm 37:25. We are missionaries in Botswana, Africa. We have sacrificed many things from living so far away from my family. When we felt the Lord calling us to move to Botswana in 2008, we had been married for about three years and had a 9-month-old baby girl. We lived in my hometown with my parents there to help babysit whenever we needed. My husband’s job paid six figures annually and we were very secure. And then God said, “Go.” We had no house, no car, no job, no medical insurance, no idea when we would come back home. There was nothing waiting on us in Botswana. But God said, “Go.” My husband quit his job. We bought a one-way plane ticket using our savings, took my parents only grandchild, and boarded a plane to Botswana. Things have not always been easy, but I can tell you we have never been in need.
Our heavenly Father is not necessarily promising homelessness when He tells us the Son of man had no place to lay His head. He just needs to know that your priorities are straight, your faith is in Him alone, and your focus is on eternity. I do not regret the decision to follow Jesus — the joy and sense of peace is priceless.
Ashley Thaba and her family live in Botswana where they use media as a platform to teach biblical family values on an international level. They do this through television in Botswana and through weekly national newspaper columns in Zambia, Eswatini, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Malawi. They also work with the government to lead village-wide campaigns promoting biblical family values.