There is a song with the following refrain: “Everybody wants to go to Heaven, but nobody wants to die.” We all want to attain heaven; we also like our lives here on Earth. Strictly speaking, that is not necessarily a problem; God blesses us and desires joy for us while we live here. He also has a mission for each of us while here. The problem arises when we think joy means getting what we want rather than God’s mission. Sadly, many want their ticket to heaven punched, but never want to actually leave the station and take the trip.
In our passage, we see several who did not want to get on the train of discipleship. The excuses were many and varied. All of them wanted the blessing of eternal life, but no change in their priorities. Jesus reminded one that the path He followed was difficult; it seems likely that one chose to stay. One wanted to take care of his father’s business and another wanted to say goodbye to his friends. Things never change, friends. Now we have sports, a new bass boat or even just a work schedule that makes us want to lie around when we aren’t working. The reasons to not follow Jesus are still many and varied.
We are never saved by following Jesus(works), but clearly following Jesus is a result of that gift. If we choose not to follow, Jesus told us that we are, “not fit for the Kingdom of God.”