Seductive subordinate allegiances
Who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? – Luke 14:28
57 Someone said to Jesus, “I will follow you wherever you go.”
58 But Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay his head.”
59 He said to another person, “Come, follow me.” The man agreed, saying, “Lord, first let me return home and bury my father.”
60 But Jesus told him, “Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead! Your duty is to go and preach about the Kingdom of God.”
61 Another said, “Yes, Lord, I will follow you, but first let me say good-bye to my family.”
62 But Jesus told him, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.”
“Smart leaders understand that their job requires them to identify trade-offs, choosing what not to do as much as what to do. Grading the importance of various initiatives in an environment of finite resources is a primary test of leadership.”
“A better way to establish priorities is to put rank ordering aside and return to first principles. To wit: There are three interdependent variables that are essential for executing any initiative – objectives, resources, and timing. You can’t produce the desired effect of a project without precise objectives, ample resources, and a reasonable time frame. If you push or pull on one leg of this triangle, you must adjust the others.”
“All three variables are important, but resources reign supreme. Resources are what enable an objective to be accomplished within a set time; without dedicated means, an initiative is pure fantasy. Once a leader decides what resources will be allocated to achieve which objectives over what periods of time, she has no more need for ranking. She will be forced to acknowledge three kinds of priorities: critical, important, and desirable” (HBR).
The Lord Jesus Christ calls us to follow Him. His call takes precedence over all other allegiances. His call is not only desirable and important, but it is also critical! “Anything that hinders unqualified commitment to him . . . must be set aside” (ESV, Notes).
This requires a paradigm shift of our priorities, followed by a single-minded focus on critical priorities. Sadly, noncritical priorities slowly but surely blur our focus and consume our efforts. We begin to struggle with the seductiveness of subordinate allegiances. Dr. Richard H. Seume refers to this process as “the lure of the lesser loyalty.” Often, the little things, not major crises, steal away our time from the Father.
They nibble away on our commitments, and we lose our laser focus. We hardly notice the erosion of our commitment and devotion to the Father’s prime directive for us.
Song of Solomon 2:15 Catch all the foxes, those little foxes, before they ruin the vineyard of love, for the grapevines are blossoming!
“Foxes are pests that wreak havoc in vineyards (e.g., they will eat the grapes). The foxes represent some hindrances that are threatening to spoil their relationship” (ESV, Notes).
REFLECT & PRAY
“The path of Christianity is strewn with the litter of straying saints. Invariably, each who has strayed has chosen to be led by a lesser loyalty” (Swindoll).
Father the sad and mournful words “Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it; prone to leave the God I love” haunt me whenever I sing them. They bring tears to my eyes as I recall my own tendency to wander off from the Father I love. Take my heart and seal it. Seal it for your courts above.
Robert Robinson (1735 – 1790) was not well-known for his sermons. They have been more or less lost to history. However, the words of one of his hymns, Come, Thou Fount of every blessing, have become immortalized. Robert Robinson was led to the Lord by George Whitfield in 1755 when he was 20 years old. Two years later, in 1757, he wrote a hymn that expressed his joy and confidence in his new faith.
Sadly over the years, he drifted away from his commitment to the truth of Scripture. He became “a great soul racked and rent by the clash of inward loyalties” (Graham W. Hughes). “The allurement and siren song of “intellectual” speculations loosed him from his theological moorings until he drifted far from shore and became shipwrecked in heresy” (Doug Kutilek). He lost his ability to enjoy his own words.
An unverifiable story is told that while he was riding in a stagecoach, a lady asked him what he thought of the hymn she was humming. He responded, “Madam, I am the poor unhappy man who wrote that hymn many years ago, and I would give a thousand worlds, if I had them, to enjoy the feelings I had then” (christianity.com).
How tragic it is that any child of the King can be lured away by the seductiveness of subordinate allegiances.
How can we avoid drifting away?
As we decide upon our priorities, we need to calculate and see if we have the resources and the means to follow through and complete the Father’s assignment he has for each of us. We are called to be His disciples, and discipleship is very costly. It involves significant sacrifice.
28 But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it?
29 Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you.
30 They would say, “There’s the person who started that building and couldn’t afford to finish it!”
31 Or what king would go to war against another king without first sitting down with his counselors to discuss whether his army of 10,000 could defeat the 20,000 soldiers marching against him?
32 And if he can’t, he will send a delegation to discuss terms of peace while the enemy is still far away.
These Scriptures provide striking truths. Regrettably, it is possible to be a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ without ever committing to be a disciple. A story has been passed down regarding someone speaking with a great scholar about a younger man. He said, “So and so tells me that he was one of your students.” The teacher answered, “He may have attended my lectures, but he was not one of my students” (Barclay).
Tragically, there are so many believers in the Lord Jesus Christ and so few faithful, committed disciples.
Counting the cost of following the Lord Jesus Christ is extremely important. “But if we are daunted by the high demands of Christ, let us remember that we are not left to fulfill them alone. He who called us to the steep road will walk with us every step of the way and be there at the end to meet us” (Barclay).
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it; prone to leave the God I love.
Take my heart; O take and seal it. Seal it for thy courts above.
© Dr. H 2022