I have not always understood or appreciated the spirit of these words. Does Jesus show no sympathy for someone experiencing a parent’s death? We need to understand that in ancient Palestine burial of the dead took place on the day of death. There were no funeral parlours, no embalming. The man proposed his allegiance to Jesus, anticipating his father’s death at some future date, otherwise he would have been attending to his father’s burial and not talking to Christ. His words to Jesus may have been well intentioned, but they rang hollow.
A challenge to Christian living is that God places opportunities for ministry at seemingly inopportune times. The needs are there when they are there, not at our scheduled convenience. Family problems, natural disasters, community injustices and world conflicts can all seem to be hitting us at the same time. We will have to pick and choose how we answer these challenges. We should not feel alone in doing so. God knows where and how we need to respond. God will be with us and will show us the way. We need to lay aside our excuses for more timely involvement with Christ and let God be God with us in the now.
Help us, Lord, to see beyond our convenient time and be willing to serve you in your eternal now. Amen. — SO