The Gospel of Matthew: a commentary & meditation 
"Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go"

Scripture: Matthew 8:18-22

18 Now when Jesus saw great crowds around him, he gave orders to go over to the other side.  19 And a scribe came up and said to him, "Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go."  20 And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man has nowhere to lay his head." 21 Another of the disciples said to him, "Lord, let me first go and bury my father." 22 But Jesus said to him, "Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead."
Meditation: Are you ready to follow the Lord wherever he may lead you? In love the Lord calls each personally to follow as his disciple. What an awesome privilege and an awesome responsibility! What does it cost to be a disciple?  Our whole lives, for sure!  Christ in turn gives us all that we need and more besides!  Before we “sign-on” for something, is quite natural to ask what it will cost us. Jesus made sure that any “would-be” followers knew what they were getting themselves into. One prospective follower, a scribe, paid Jesus the highest compliment he knew.  He called Jesus “teacher”. Scribes considered themselves the “teachers” and “experts” in the law of God.   Jesus warned this would-be follower:  Before you follow me, think what you are doing and count the cost. A disciple must be willing to make sacrifices, even the sacrifice of his own life to follow Jesus as his Master and Lord.  Another would-be disciple responded by saying that he must first bury his father, that is go back home and take care of his father until he died. Jesus appealed to the man’s heart and told him to detach himself from whatever might keep him from following as his disciple.  Love sacrifices all for the beloved.  It was love that compeled the Lord Jesus to lay down his life for us.  Does the love of Christ compel you to give your all for the Lord?  Let the Holy Spirit flood your heart with the love of God.

What can keep us from giving our all to God?  Fear, self-concern, pre-occupation and attachment to other things.  Even spiritual things can get in the way of having God alone as our Treasure if we put them first.  Detachment is a necessary step is we want to make the Lord our Treasure and Joy.  It frees us to give ourselves without reserve to the Lord and to his service. There is nothing greater we can do with our lives than to place them at the service of the Lord and Master of the universe. We cannot outgive God in generosity.  Jesus promises that those who are willing to part with what is most dear to them for his sake “will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life” (Matthew 19:29). Is there anything holding you back from giving your all to the Lord?

"Take, O Lord, and receive my entire liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my whole will.  All that I am and all that I possess you have given me. I surrender it all to you to be disposed of according to your will.  Give me only your love and your grace — with these I will be rich enough and will desire nothing more.” (Prayer of Ignatius Loyola, 1491-1556)

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(c) 2002 Don Schwager