Fred and his wife Edna went to the state fair every year. Every year Fred would say, “Edna, I’d like to ride in that there airplane.” And every year Edna would say, “I know Fred, but that airplane ride costs ten dollars, and ten dollars is ten dollars.”
One year Fred and Edna went to the fair and Fred said, “Edna, I’m 71 years old. If I don’t ride that airplane this year I may never get another chance.” Edna replied, “Fred that there airplane ride costs ten dollars, and ten dollars is ten dollars.”
The pilot overheard them and said, “Folks, I’ll make you a deal. I’ll take you both up for a ride. If you can stay quiet for the entire ride and not say one word, I won’t charge you, but if you say one word it’s ten dollars.”
Fred and Edna agreed and up they go. The pilot does all kinds of twists and turns, rolls and dives, but not a word is heard. He does all his tricks over again, but still not a word.
They land and the pilot turns to Edna, “By golly, I did everything I could think of to get you to yell out, but you didn’t.”
Edna replied, “Well, I was going to say something when Fred fell out of the plane, but ten dollars is ten dollars.”
Our reading is quite clever. Jesus goes from saying to hate your family to giving financial advice, sort of worst-case, best – case. What seems like a guide to calculating the cost of holding on becomes guidance to let go of it all.
This is a great week t0 use humor to help us reflect on what we hold dearer that we hold onto Jesus. I guess. The Philemon passage fits nicely and has the rare advantage of allowing the preacher to preach from an entire chapter without missing lunch.
An 80 year old couple were having problems remembering things, so they decided to go to their doctor to get checked out to make sure nothing was wrong with them. When they arrived at the doctor’s, they explained to the doctor about the problems they were having with their memory.
After checking the couple out, the doctor tells them that they were physically okay but might want to start writing things down and make notes to help them remember things. The couple thanked the doctor and left.
Later that night while watching TV, the old man got up from his chair and his wife asks, “Where are you going?”
He replies, “To the kitchen.”
She asks, “Will you get me a bowl of ice cream?” He replies, “Sure.”
She then asks him, “Don’t you think you should write it down so you can remember it?” He says, “No, I can remember that.”
She then says, “Well, I also would like some strawberries on top. You had better write that down cause I know you’ll forget that.”
He says, “I can remember that, you want a bowl of ice cream with strawberries.”
She replies, “Well, I also would like whip cream on top. I know you will forget that so you better write it down.” With irritation in his voice, he says, “I don’t need to write that down, I can remember that.” He then fumes into the kitchen.
After about 20 minutes he returns from the kitchen and hands her a plate of bacon and eggs.
She stares at the plate for a moment and says, “You forgot my toast.”
In our lesson from Luke Jesus is talking about counting the costs of discipleship. If you cannot:
- Hate your mother and father, you cannot be my disciple.
- Take up the cross and follow me, you cannot ne my disciple.
- Give away all of your possessions, you cannot be my disciple.
It sounds like the ideal disciple is the teenage girl who has been told she has been grounded, lost her allowance, and cannot go to the big dance. But just try to take away her cell phone.
For all of the snake pits of the world that entice us with good things before revealing their horrors, Jesus puts it right out there: Following me will not be easy. Preaching this text may not be either.
You can take the trip, but you have to leave your baggage behind.
Have a great week – Laurin