Then another of His disciples said to Him, "Lord, let me first go
and bury my father." (Matthew 8:21)
Often our struggle as Christians is not in deciding whether we should
obey Christ but in obeying immediately. We may acknowledge our need to follow
Christ and commit ourselves to do what He has told us. Yet when God reveals His
will to us, that is the time to obey! God’s revelation of His will is His
invitation to respond immediately.
Some would-be disciples pledged their willingness to follow Jesus, but
they told Him they were not ready yet. In Jesus’ day, a Jewish man was expected
to care for his elderly parents until they died. One man wanted to wait until
his father died before going with Jesus. This would be an honorable delay. The
man had to choose between this important responsibility and heeding a call from
the Lord. Yet God knew this man, and He knew the man’s father. God would have
taken care of the man’s father, if he only would have followed Jesus. This was
an opportunity to walk with the Son of God, yet the concerns of this life were
competing for priority with obedience to God.
Timing our obedience is crucial. Invitations from God come with a
limited opportunity to respond. Some opportunities to serve Him, if not
accepted immediately, will be lost. Occasions to minister to others may pass us
by. When God invites us to intercede for someone, it may be critical that we
stop what we are doing and immediately adjust our lives to what God is doing.
Missing opportunities to serve the Lord can be tragic. When an invitation comes
from God, the time to respond is now.