Lord Jesus, draw the thoughts and the longing of our hearts to thee. Amen.

Luke 9, 57-62. And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a cer­tain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man hath not where to lay his head. And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead; but go thou and preach the kingdom of God. And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell which are at home at my house. And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

You must not seek in Jesus the things of earth, but those of heaven. He is Lord of heaven and earth; but for our sake he be­came the poorest of all; and we must learn of him to renounce every­thing in the world, if we are to enjoy the good things of his king­dom. He tells us this at once; but if we are of the truth, he does not cast us off for not being able at once fully to understand him. Is it not a most deplorable thing that riches and covetousness prevent so many from coming to the Lord ? Is it not a surprising illusion of the senses; or, I should rather say, a sad illusion of the heart, that these things, which Jesus regards as being of such little account, and which we know to be corruptible, are held in such high regard by us, and have such a power over our hearts ? Come to him, and let him teach you to seek the good things which are eternal; and you shall be set free from mammon, and be its master! No matter how weak you may be, he shall not cast you off, if you will but hear him, obey him, and receive from him that sacred poverty which is the true riches of the soul. Do this, for the sake of your eternal salvation!

To this man, who declares that he will follow him whitherso­ever he goes, the Lord speaks of his poverty; for he sees that as yet the man’s zeal is carnal, but that his character is not without a cer­tain groundwork of honesty. To another man the Lord says: “Fol­low me. Let the dead bury their dead; but go thou and preach the kingdom of God;” — for he saw that the man’s heart was bound up in his earthly home. This same is true in respect to the man who wanted to follow the Lord, but wished first to bid them farewell which were in his house. This spirit of Demas must be cast out, if we are to be saved; for with it we would perish in the destruction of Sodom. How many are there not who, having put their hand to the plow, and looked forward for a time, have thereupon lost sight of the goal, looked back, entangled themselves with worldly affairs, and lost their courage! Thus it is with him who steps aside from his post to sip the pleasures of this world; he loses more and more that purity of mind which is most precious in the sight of Jesus. — “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2, 12. 13). “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world! If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof; but he that doeth the will of the Father abideth forever.” (1 John 2, 15-17).

Lord Jesus, do thou never suffer the riches or joys of the world to prevent us from following thee, nor to entice us away from thee. Draw us to thee, and keep us with thee to our last hour. Amen.

Savior, draw away our heart
From all pleasures base and hollow;
Let us there with thee have part,
Here on earth thy footsteps follow;
Fix our hearts beyond the skies,
Whither we ourselves would rise.
[TLH 206]

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