Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.
And what it meant was commitment and sacrifice. Jesus wasn’t interested in those who followed him just because they thought he said good things. Instead today’s gospel makes three things about discipleship perfectly clear:
- It meant giving up on comfort and security: The Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.
- It meant creating new relationships—even family relationships: Jesus criticism of the man who wanted to bury a parent.
- It meant not living in the past: Nobody who starts the work and then looks back is fit for God’s kingdom. 
And though we don’t want to believe it, what it meant then it still means today. For us, “following” has come to mean something entirely new of late. We follow blogs. We follow people on Twitter. We want updates about what they’re saying and doing. We are conveniently notified by a ding on our cell phone whenever they publish and update—whether it’s their deep thoughts in a blog post, or their random musings via a tweet. This kind of following is accomplished without us ever leaving our seat.
What if the foxes and the birds Jesus mentioned aren’t just animals but also distractions? This is very easy to do if we think of our hearts, not as a physical organ, but the seat of who we are spiritually. The heart has been called “the seat of principles and the fountain of actions."  But no heart is perfect, for all of us are filled with bolt holes where the slyness of the fox can easily find a home. Dishonesty can find its way into the tiniest crack, and once there it can start housekeeping in some pretty amazing ways. The great philosopher Pearl Bailey put it this way: “The first and worst of all frauds is to cheat one’s self. All sin is easy after that.”
And so as we turn our thoughts to the Lord’s table this morning, let us think about the One who finds no shelter in the world, and never did; but who finds sweet rest in the hearts of the faithful. When but two or three who truly believe in him are gathered together, a home is made in the world for the One who had no place to lay his head. 
No matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey, you can be part of this home and you’re welcome at the table of the Lord. Here you are invited to partake of bread for the journey and drink from the fountain of life. Here is your opportunity to clean house—to make room in your heart for something better than what’s settled inside it, for there are foxes and birds that need to be shooed away, buyers and sellers that need to be driven out. 
I asked at the beginning of this meditation who else would follow Jesus. I am now prepared to help supply an answer: Jesus’ other followers are those who make room for him in their hearts. Though the rest of the world reject him, may our hearts be open to receive unreservedly the One who offers us love without measure and grace without precondition.
—©2016 Sam L. Greening, Jr.
- See Luke 9:57-62 for direction quotations.
- John Flavel, A Saint Indeed, or The Great Work of a Christian in Keeping the Heart in the Several Conditions of Life (London, 1668), electronic ed.
- Desmond Tutu, An African Prayer Book (New York: Doubleday, 1995), p. 44.
- Paraphrased from a sermon preached by Charles Spurgeon in London on January 7, 1872; references to Matt. 18:20 & Luke 9:58 added.
- It was Thomas Boston (1676-1732) who said, Look into the house, and you will see it stands much in need of purging. Within that heart of yours, there are buyers and sellers that need to be driven out. Purge the outer court of your life, thy words and actions; and see well to the inner court—your inner self (language updated).
- After a prayer of Augustine of Hippo.