Mark Twain featured the characters of Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer in multiple books. One of them is Tom Sawyer, Detective. As part of that book’s conversations between Huck and Tom, Huck says, “Any way you druther have it, that is the way I druther have it.” To that, Tom replies, “There ain’t any druthers about it, Huck Finn; nobody said anything about druthers.”
Tom Sawyer, Detective was written in 1896, and so we know the word “druthers” goes back at least that far. Obviously, though, Twain wouldn’t have incorporated it into Tom and Huck’s dialogue if the word wasn’t in use long before that. By the way, in case you aren’t familiar with the term, it means “those things you would rather do” and was probably devised as a contraction of “would rather.”
Truth be told, we all have druthers. We have things we would rather do. I’d druther watch a baseball game than a soccer match. I’d druther drink Pepsi than coffee. I’d druther wear jeans, a golf shirt, and tennis shoes than a suit, a tie, and dress shoes.
Still, every Sunday morning I’m up there behind the pulpit wearing a suit, a tie, and dress shoes instead of jeans, a golf shirt, and tennis shoes. Why? It’s because we don’t always get to do our druthers, do we? Welcome to life.
For the Christian, a serious problem arises anytime his or her druthers doesn’t match up with God’s will. It’s at this intersection that a death must occur. Either the Christian’s druthers or God’s will won’t make it out of that intersection alive. Something has to give.
Jesus understood this particular type of death perfectly. That’s why He said in Luke 9:23, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny (emphasis mine) himself, and take up his cross (emphasis mine) daily, and follow Me.” In the Roman world, a cross was not a necklace or a symbol on a church. It was a means of execution. To correctly bring the imagery into our day and age, we would say, “…let him deny himself, and take the lethal injection” or “…sit down in the electric chair” or “…enter the gas chamber.”
If you find such language upsetting, that’s the point. Jesus was purposely trying to be starkly graphic. He wanted His disciples to understand that following Him on a daily basis isn’t easy. It costs you something. It costs you your druthers.
Thankfully, our druthers and God’s will don’t always conflict. Since God knows us better than we know ourselves, He knows how to custom tailor a life of service for us that incorporates many of our druthers into it. He is, after all, the one who wired us and gifted us with talents and spiritual gifts. So why would He not make logical, commonsensical, appropriate use of all that?
With this understood, however, there will always be those times when God will test our obedience by asking us to do things that cut directly against our druthers. Even Jesus, who was God the Son in human flesh, had such a moment when He prayed three times concerning His impending death, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will” (Matthew 26:36-46, N.K.J.V.).
The key word in those three prayers is easy to spot. It’s that word nevertheless. That word serves as the point of death — the cross — in the prayers. Jesus’ druthers come before it, and God’s will comes after it.
Right now it could be that God’s will is calling for you to do something that runs opposite of your druthers. What this means is that something is about to die in your life. The vultures might as well be circling over your head. But what will die? Will it be your druthers or God’s will? I trust that you understand that it’s in your best interests that your druthers die. Such a death, however, will require a nevertheless moment from you as you take the lethal injection, sit down in the electric chair, or enter the gas chamber. That, you see, is the only way that you can follow where Jesus is leading you, and it’s the only way that you can claim the title “disciple” in this particular decision.