Follow Me and let the dead bury their own dead.

Matthew 8:22

This was another one of those curious statements made by Christ that makes one ponder, “What did he mean by that?” Though I am not a theologian I have accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior so His words ring straight to my heart and soul. Christ made this statement in response to one of His disciples telling Him; “Lord let me first bury my father.” In response, Christ said back to him, “Follow Me and let the dead bury their own dead.” There are many ways to look at this passage but what I got out of it was that we should be constantly looking forward and not backward. The past is already gone while the future is still ahead of us. We should spend more time trying to help those who are alive or those that can be made alive spiritually rather than what has passed or those who are spiritually dead. Those alive have a chance of saving but those who are physically or spiritually dead have little chances of helping or saving.

I was talking about this with one of my prayer warriors, a fellow servant and follower of Christ. It would appear that our job is to work with people that want to learn more about what we have learned and found out to be the way to God. Hence we are to go out and teach others what Christ taught to His disciples, which was the Great Commission. There was another similar statement regarding a man that was plowing in the field in the gospel of Luke. A man said, “I will follow you, Lord, but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.” Jesus responded, “No one who puts his hand on the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” Luke 9: Though it may be difficult to understand such statements, it has to do with where we place our priorities. True followers believe in putting God first above all things but others who have not yet come to that understanding would naturally want to take care of the business at hand first then perhaps follow God when they are finished doing their worldly chores.

Christ knew that people have lives and worldly responsibilities that they are required to handle but where you place your priorities does make a huge difference. I just spoke about this in my article about “taking a stand.” When we put God first in our lives we need not worry about what comes next. Our priority should be centered on godliness and righteousness, truth, love, decency, helping one another and the like. These are godly attributes. Even though you still do what must be done… you do it through the lens of godly attributes then you know that God is placed in the first position so all else that follows will be aligned with God. Christ was not telling us not to honor or families or forsake our worldly responsibilities, but that if you put such things above God or His attributes then Houston, we have a problem.

This whole notion of looking backward rather than forward is not about dishonoring the dead but about doing what God places before you right now instead of concentrating on what might have been in the past. That day is gone but your life is still moving forward. What you did wrong yesterday you have a chance to get right today so dwelling upon yesterday takes your energy away from what you can be doing right now. The kingdom of Heaven is ahead of us not behind us. We need to be doing all we can to reach the promise and helping others to reach it, rather than crying over what did not happen or what you wish would have happened. Let yesterday take care of yesterday or leave your baggage behind you so you can concentrate on the kingdom that is ahead of you.

I just published a book regarding, “Has Religion Killed God” that has a bit of this concept within. People concentrate so much on rituals, familiar practices, doing things as they were done in the past, and even reliving the past when the kingdom of Heaven is ahead of us. If you are not doing things that lead to that pathway then all your rituals and practices are only reliving the past that has little to do with bringing souls into the kingdom that is ahead of us. Let the living concentrate on saving the living that still has a chance to come into the kingdom, right here on earth as it is in heaven. Just because people did things a certain way and that is all you want to concentrate upon, the Spirit is working on each soul as it stands today to bring it into conformity with God, not with ritual practices that were used in the past.

I love reading and studying scripture but each one of those passages is intended to edify me for the kingdom ahead of me and not what is behind me. We learn from the past but we should not try to relive the past. Let the dead bury the dead! The spirit of God is alive and well in the scriptures capable of reaching into the hearts and minds of people today as it did with people of the past, but that doesn’t mean that we should live our lives like people that were not exposed to what we are facing today. They had mules and donkeys while we have fast cars and trucks. It took them weeks to travel a few miles that we can cover in minutes. Many of the parables that Christ used were intended for a rural farm community when we live in steel and concrete buildings and roadways today. When you put God first you bring God into your life today rather than trying to imitate what happened in times past. Let the dead bury the dead! Let yesterday bury yesterday, but put God in your life today and all else will take care of itself.

King Solomon said that everything is utterly meaningless because “Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever. The sun rises and the sun sets and hurries back to where it rises.” Skipping down to verse 9 he says “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” What I get out of this is things of a physical nature have its patterns and God has His patterns. God lasts through all times while physical things come and go. Though we are to learn from our past we are not to live in our past. When we hook up with God we know that He lasts forever so that is where we should hook our wagon, or otherwise take our stand.

So when Christ said to “Follow me and let the dead bury the dead…” He was not telling us to dishonor anyone but to live for the living and for the kingdom that is ahead of you. Teach others what you have learned about the Way so they might be able to join you in the kingdom. Although this might not pass the theological test it is one man’s opinion of what these words spoke to me and my heart. Selah!

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Greg Middleton

Greg is a prolific writer of books, essays, blogs, and videos where he shares his opinions on life. Visit Straight Talk with Greg on YouTube.