Story Number 1.
“Follow me,” Jesus said.
He said he would, but but he wanted to wait until his father died and he had banked his inheritance (Lk. 9:59).
Another said, “Count me in … but first I need to be sure my family is OK with it” (Lk. 9:61).
Jesus was now on his final trek to Jerusalem; crucifixion was imminent. Any delay in following him would probably eliminate following him altogether.
Story Number 2
Jesus spotted him perched on a branch in a tree. He was hoping to get a look at this man everyone was talking about.
Jesus said, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.
You know the happy ending of that story: Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house” (Lk. 19:4-6, 9).
Suppose Zacchaeus had said, “It will be my honor to show you hospitality. But first let me go home and prepare for your visit. Come tomorrow.”
Tomorrow Jesus would be in Jerusalem, facing the final week of his life.
Never again would he be in Jericho.
Story Number 3
As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (that is, the Son of Timaeus), was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”
“Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus (Mk. 10:46-52).
Bartimaeus’ response to the call of Jesus was immediate. He jumped up, got rid of the cloak that might trip him up and came to Jesus like he’d been shot out of a cannon.
No waiting for daddy Timaeus to die.
No going home to discuss the decision.
The late Paul Harvey spun a tale that ran something like this …
Satan dispatched three of his minions to earth. Their assignment: talk people out of giving their lives to God.
He asked them how they would do it.
The first said, “I’ll tell them there is no God.” Satan said, “You’re not going to convince many of that.”
The second said, “I’ll tell them there is no heaven, there is no hell, this is all there is.” Satan said, “They’re not going to buy that.”
The third said, “I’ll tell them there is a heaven and a hell, and there is a God, and they should give their lives to him. But there’s no hurry.”
Satan said, “That’ll work.”