Now, I remember thinking that was pretty harsh, but as I have gotten older I think I understand this better. In the end, Jesus is telling us that NOTHING can be more important than GOD for us. I have such a heart for affluent people that are serious about this and give generously (and often anonymously) to support mission and ministry and help in so many ways. But even more amazing are folks with very tight budgets that still give with glad hearts to support work they feel is important.
C. S. Lewis wrote a small book called The Great Divorce and, rather than marital advice, it speaks about the chasm between fallen man and heaven. In the book folks get "on the bus to heaven" but many have a hard time getting off at the pearly gates because something does not suit them...the wrong person is meeting them, the wrong person actually got "into heaven." We have so many ways we justify not putting God above all else, making gods of our most beloved family members and our most closely held opinions.
What can I identify today that is causing me unnecessary pain because I am holding it more dearly than I am clinging to God? A grudge? Withheld forgiveness? A private sin? Selfishness? Greed? A familiar fear? A wrong needing to be apologized for? An amends to be made?
We have so many opportunities to replace what is causing pain with the healing, comfort, strength and rehabilitation that God stands ready at every moment to pour into our lives. Every day, every relationship, every learning moment, every serving moment are filled with potential to build a better self, a better life, a more purpose-filled and satisfying life.