Recently I’ve been told that our marriage to our spouse is our “most important ministry”, that ministry begins at home, and our spouse is our most important thing. That sounds good, but does it align with what Jesus taught? As much as I’d like to say that’s correct, the Bible just doesn’t bear that out. In fact, it says quite the opposite. You see, God is a jealous God, meaning HE must be Number One, not further on down the list. Is that a hard word? Only if God is not your Number One.

It is written in Matthew 10:16-33,
16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.
17 But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues;
18 And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles.
19 But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.
20 For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.
21 And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.
22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.
23 But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.
24 The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord.
25 It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?
26 Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known.
27 What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops.
28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
29 Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.
30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
31 Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.
32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.
33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.

So far so good, it’s spelled out pretty clear where our priority should be, and that is ministering the Gospel to those we meet. But now the path narrows considerably. Following Jesus tends to do that to your life, you find that the closer you follow Jesus, the more that has to fall away from your life.
We start off on a fairly wide path with Him, but as time passes, that path becomes narrower and narrower, and what could fit on that path comfortably walking by our side becomes noticeably troubling later on. At some point, the path becomes narrow enough that we must make a choice, whether to chance trying to walk that path with several others and hopefully not be crowded away from Jesus, or choosing Jesus alone and forsaking the others. That is a hard choice, but it shows you whom you love the most, because the one you love the most will remain your priority. The first thing that goes is “casual friends” that don’t have their hearts with Jesus. We can say we’re sticking around to win them to Jesus, but if after years of that and there’s no fruit, it’s time to move on without them.

Then, the path narrows more, and it’s those dearer to you. And that may even mean people who love Jesus, but that aren’t really causing you to walk closer to Jesus, but rather just “walking along with the crowd”. Over time, they seem to thin themselves out as they pursue their own desires. And the path narrows more, till you’re getting down now to in-laws, outlaws, and family. You’ll find as you walk closer to Jesus, that you may become obnoxious to them, because they get tired of hearing about Jesus all the time. “Well, all you have is a one-track mind. I know you love Jesus, but there’s more to life than Jesus.” Really? Is there?

And then you start seeing the path getting really narrow, to the point where if you aren’t walking real close to Jesus, it looks like you’ll fall off, and there are no guard rails to keep you from falling. But it doesn’t end there. At some point the path is only wide enough for you and Jesus, and sometimes He even has to carry you, because there isn’t room for both of you to walk side by side. Few ever get there in the first place, because their love is divided between God and the world.
When Jesus described the process of refining gold and silver, He mentioned FIRE, that must burn away the impurities, so that what is left is fit for the Master’s use. We all feel so nice and warm and fuzzy going to church, singing our songs of praise and worship, listening to the sermons, enjoying the fellowship, and maybe enjoying the church potluck meals after the service, but there’s more to serving God. And sometimes MORE means LESS: that is more that shows we are HIS, and less of what WE want to do. Let’s go on:

34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
36 And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.
37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.
39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.
40 He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.
41 He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward.
42 And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.

I guess what this all boils down to is, “HOW IMPORTANT IS JESUS TO YOU?” Is He important enough to you to forsake all others if it becomes necessary? That’s a question I can’t answer for you, but I can sure tell you this: there aren’t going to be a LOT of people saved, according to this passage, even though Christ Jesus paid the ransom for “whosoever will come to Him”. It’s for those who “overcome”, and that isn’t for the weak of heart. Being an overcomer is going to cost you BIG TIME! So the question is, “Is Jesus important enough to you to be willing to even forsake your family members for if need be?” That question weeds out the “wannabes” from those who will walk with Jesus for eternity.

There’s the passage about a man building a tower, let’s read it in Luke 14:15-33:
15 And when one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said unto him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God.
16 Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many:
17 And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready.
18 And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused.
19 And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused.
20 And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.
21 So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.
22 And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room.
23 And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.
24 For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.
25 And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them,
26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.
27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.
28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?
29 Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him,
30 Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.
31 Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?
32 Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace.
33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.

There’s no easy way to say this; at some point you and I may have to choose between God and family, and the above scriptures bear witness to that. The early disciples did, and they bore untold persecution unto death. The path for us grows narrow, more so today than yesterday. We each must make our own choices, and I promise it won’t be easy. But your soul depends on your choice, so please choose wisely!