What was wrong with Lot's wife? It is no mystery. First, she was disobedient to God's Word given through the angels. When the angels came to Sodom with the announcement that they were about to destroy the city and that Lot and his family would have to leave, they said, "Flee for your lives! Don't look back, and don't stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!" (Gen. 19:13, 17). Those commands were as urgent and explicit as any found in Scripture. Yet Lot's wife disobeyed them. She began by delaying. Delay then erupted into outright disobedience as she disregarded the angels' command and looked back.

In his classic treatment of The Cost of Discipleship, Dietrich Bonhoeffer makes a careful analysis of Luke 9:57-62, in which he examines each of the excuses. He spends the most time on the third since it is most critical. When Elisha went back to burn his farm equipment and kill his oxen, it was to make that break clean and irreversible. He was a true disciple. In this case, it was the opposite. The man was clinging to old relationships and life patterns.

The would-be disciple in Luke 9 was like many would-be disciples today! If a preacher comes promising a solution to life’s problems - "this world and heaven too" - they are ready to sign on with Jesus. But speak of hardships and physical deprivations, and their enthusiasm withers. Such "followers" do not follow Jesus to the end, and so they are not saved.

Eight hundred years before Christ's day the prophet Elijah was led to enlist Elisha as his fellow worker and successor. He found Elisha plowing, went to him, and threw his mantle over him. Elisha immediately understood that this was Elijah's way of calling him to service, so he ran after Elijah calling, "Let me kiss my father and mother good-bye, and then I will come with you." Elijah feigned indifference. "Go back," he said. "What have I done to you?"

If you are having trouble with your family as a result of your attempt to follow Jesus, do not despair. Count it a temporary thing. You must follow Jesus regardless of what your family may say or do, but reason that the very fact that God has called you is an encouragement to think that he may also call them. As Charles Haddon Spurgeon once said, you may be the "spiritual decoy" to bring them into "the gospel net."