I remember playing “follow the leader” as a child. I loved the game because it was always an adventure. Where would the leader take us? What obstacles will we have to overcome? The leader could climb a tree or duck under a ledge or walk through a puddle. It didn’t matter, because wherever the leader went, the followers had to go.
In this story Jesus is walking along the road, and people are following him. Some seem willing to follow right away, while others need to take care of other matters first. Jesus warns those who are willing that the life of following will not be easy. He also tells the people who have excuses to forget them and follow him immediately.
Jesus’ responses seem a bit odd. Why try to talk someone out of following while chastising others who have excuses?
Let’s think about that together. Following Jesus—living the life of faith in him—is not easy work. It calls for putting others’ needs ahead of our own, and it requires sacrifice. It may be exciting at times, but it is not defined by things that often attract us—like the latest trends, an amazing new leader, or mind-blowing miracles. Those aren’t the reasons why Jesus calls us to follow. He calls us to share his message and to bring change for good in a broken world that doesn’t want change. He calls us to live by doing what’s right, but there’s always resistance to that. It may be difficult, but we can trust that as we follow our leader, he is always with us.