The Right Kind of Sell-Out

Robert Kearns is the guy who invented the intermittent wiper blade.  He got shafted by the auto industry who basically stole his design, and had to go to court to sue for recompense and damages.  He won after many, many years of litigation.  They made a movie about it called “Flash of Genius”.  I saw that movie a while back.  What struck me most was how completely sold out Kearns was to getting justice for his injury.  So much so, he lost everything in the process of winning his law-suit.  His wife, his kids…all who were close to him.  But he was committed to winning his case, so everything else was expendable by default.

I don’t know if I admire him or pity him…I really don’t.  The thing is, you can’t help but notice commitment like that.  It’s radical.  Troubling as it may be, Jesus calls us to that same kind of radical commitment when it comes to following Him.

We’re looking at Luke 9:57-62 this Sunday.  Jesus will be approached by three different would-be disciples.  They each represent three qualifications for commitment to Christ and His Kingdom.  This is no-holds-barred, sharped edged stuff here.  No one can read this brief account and not feel some sort of cut.  As you read it, what challenges do you encounter?  If we compare our own lifestyles (as 21st Century American Christians) with the claims Jesus seems to lay on our lives…how deep does our own commitment run?  What does counting the cost of following Christ mean to you?  I’d love to hear your thoughts…even though this is a tough subject.

5 thoughts on “The Right Kind of Sell-Out

  1. When I was reading that passage, I just kept thinking “Man Jesus, those seem like pretty reasonable requests.” I mean, going to bury your dead Dad seems like a good excuse…
    But, as sinners, we think most things can be justified into the category of “reasonable”, whereas Jesus sees through weak excuses and procrastination.
    I think these guys were trying to jump on a band-wagon that Jesus totally knew they weren’t ready for.
    I think many Christians (like the guys in this passage) think that being a follower of Christ is easy, when it is clearly not….it requires sacrifice as Jesus illustrates when he said “the son of man has no place to lay his head”.
    It’s a hard life, but when you are kingdom minded, urgency is placed on the fact that people are dying and they need a saviour.

  2. I look forward every week to the postings on wonderwhat. I kind of think of it as a bible study group with you and the others who comment. And since many of us have had our comments mentioned on sunday, it is seems like we also help in your preperation. What a concept. Thanks

    I really liked Dayle’s statement regarding Urgency. Could that be a reason for the simplicity of God’s words. Kind of like God is saying, “Look I am going to make my instructions quick and simple. Loving each other should not be so complicated. If I had to consider things outside of loving you, I might still be considering the whole cross thing as well.”

    One final thought, is the “place to lay the head of the Son of Man” a comment on the lack of faith Jesus finds here with us?

  3. Great comments Dayle!

    Spud, I like your take on the Wonderwhat posts and comments! I really feel like it IS a big help in preparing for the teaching on Sunday. How awesome it is to get this whole thing interactive!

  4. I have to be honest here…this passage (along with others) has always troubled me greatly. I understand what you’re saying Dayle-and have always heard variations on this. Things like, “Jesus is trying make a generic, over-arching statement about something called ‘total commitment'”. Or maybe it falls into the category of Jesus knowing their real thoughts-hearts-intentions…so the “bury my father first” comment was just a dodge (although the scripture doesn’t state this, like it does clearly in many other passages). Even trying to grasp what this might mean in a different cultural-historical setting, I come up…well…extremely troubled.

    Perhaps I haven’t matured enough yet in my faith, but I struggle between details and jumping back to a “larger metaphore” when it becomes uncomfortable. Probably no one (I could be wrong, though) would say that Jesus actually wants these guys to come and follow him around and learn from him (disciples) like Pete & Jim & Andy…and NOT bury their Dad first. But, unfortunately…that’s what he says. Even likens this “request” to a farmer putting his hand to a plow then looking back. It doesn’t make sense to me. Perhaps there was something else going on entirely during the interaction that we are not privy to…
    …I think I would bury my Dad first and then go find Jesus. So there must be…must be…something much larger being discussed here. Jesus’ interaction with the adulterous woman, the gentile woman, the Samaritan woman, seem strangely at odds with this encounter…unless these guys are in the same league (mindset, personality, spiritual place) as the the Rich Young Ruler who said he “kept all the commandments up to this very day” (which is I think Dayle’s point). Maybe that’s it. I hope so…because otherwise…I’m burying my Dad first and not stressing over it because my Heavenly Dad knows my heart.

    Wow…what a rample, huh?

  5. hmmm…quite a rample indeed.
    I totally get what you’re saying Den…er Jericho. I do think this passage has been used as a club at times, creating crushing demands on people who really want to follow Jesus…but who still struggle to understand our responsibilities in this life as well.
    I think this Sunday we’ll be unpacking this to help us get a better view of what Jesus had in mind…at least I hope so. It really IS about commitment…and priorities and selling out…but we might gain a little more insight into what that means as we contextualize it a bit.

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