Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” (Matthew 8:20)
Today’s passage comes from a conversation Jesus had with a religious scribe who professed a desire to be a follower of Jesus. The scribe boasted, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus gave him this famous reply—which is directed not just to the scribe in that moment, but to every person who desires to follow Christ today.
We all desire comfort, but that desire must never eclipse our relationship to our Savior and our calling as Christians in this world. If we are to be like our Lord, we must recognize that the time will come when the world will forsake us, just as it did Jesus. But this is not to be our concern, for we are to crave Christ . . . not comfort. And the truth is, the more we have of Christ, the less we will experience comfort in this world.
Reading through the gospel accounts of the life of our Lord, we don’t read much about creature comforts for Christ. Our Lord did not have a home or money. Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a borrowed donkey, ate His final meal in a borrowed upper room, and was buried in a borrowed garden tomb. To be sure, He found comfort in the relationships He had with His disciples. But at the end of His life, most of them were nowhere to be found. One close friend betrayed Him. Another denied Him. All abandoned Him for fear of the Jews.
The comfort our Lord Jesus experienced was the comfort from above, and it is this comfort we too are to experience as Christians in this world. Returning to today’s Scripture, we see that when Jesus said these words to the religious leader, He was in essence asking one who was considered very rich in that culture, “Do you really want to leave all of your creature comforts behind to be My disciple?” If the scribe craved comfort, it would not be long before he would forsake Christ and return to the comfortable life he had come to know and love. The same is true for you and me today. If we crave comfort, it won’t be long before we will abandon our pursuit of Christ and pursue the comfortable life.
Now, let’s be clear on what this passage does not mean; Jesus was not saying that a life of poverty is the pathway for every disciple of Christ. There were some followers of Jesus (Mary, Martha, Lazarus, Joseph of Arimathea) who had many of creature comforts. And there are some disciples of Jesus today who are incredibly wealthy. Remember, it is not what you possess, but what possesses you that matters most to Jesus.
Here is the key: we must be ready, willing, and able to give up everything for Jesus. Whether we are called to do it or not is up to our Lord. If we seek comfort, we will stifle our relationship with Christ. If we seek Christ, we may not have the comforts of the world, but we will have the greatest comfort in the universe—and His name is Jesus Christ.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!