This post is Part 3 in the five-part series titled:Read the introduction to this series here.
Read Part 1 - Who is a called to a Missionary?
Read Part 2 - What does it mean to be a "Follower of Jesus?"
Ok, so now that we’ve determined what it means to be a follower of Jesus, and have seen what task He calls us to in doing that, we understand that the life of a believer is an outwardly focused one. In order to follow Jesus, we must be willing and ready to go (or stay put) whenever and wherever He leads.
This is usually where our hesitation kicks into high-gear. It’s easy to follow Jesus when He’s leading us somewhere we like. But what about when He calls us somewhere unfamiliar, scary, or down-right undesirable? What about when the "timing isn’t good"?
In Luke 9, we see some people who are very zealous to follow Jesus… that is, of course, until they count the cost.
“As they were going along the road, someone said to Him, ‘I will follow You wherever You go.’ And Jesus said to him, 'the foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.’” (v. 58)
What if Jesus called us to a homeless existence? Would we be as willing without a soft bed to lay our heads on at night?
“And He said to another, ‘Follow Me.’ But he said, ‘Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.’ But He said to him, ‘Let the dead bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim everywhere the kingdom of God.’” (v.60)
Ouch. That pill is a little more hard to swallow. Actually, a lot more.
This man's request is a familiar one: Just over a year ago, Wade and I were making the same request, in a way. In “our” plan, we would wait until we were much older before making the move to Mexico that we felt God desired of us. “Our plan” was to first pay off student debt, and then, when the time came, take care of our parents if they needed it. After that, we would be able to go.
If left to our own devices, we’d plan our lives away without ever actually doing the thing God has told us to do.
Thankfully, we serve a God who passionately pursues us, no matter how hard-headed we can be.
“Another also said, ‘I will follow You, Lord; but first permit me to say good-bye to those at home.’ But Jesus said to him, ‘No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.’” (vv.61-62)
God requires a reckless abandonment to His call. We must ready and willing to follow Him , any time, any place, and under any circumstance.
(via naptime diaries)
For a long time, I wanted to go to Africa and live for a year. Other times, I wanted to hurry up and move to Mexico. Both of these scenarios sound like “good missionary living” ideas. But it’s not about that. It doesn’t matter how “good and godly” our plans for our lives may seem, it only matters that we’re obedient to God. During those two times, God said no. Instead, He led me to be a gospel-sharer, a missionary, in my own community. And in all honesty, I did not want to do that. In fact, I resented the idea of it.
I remember loathing my lot in staying. And you know what happened during that time? I missed a lot of opportunities to fulfill Acts 1:8. And Matt 28:19-20. All because I wasn’t going where I wanted to go. Just little ‘ol Albertville, Alabama.
Thankfully, through His grace and an incredible church family and wise church leadership team, God broke my heart for my city. Thank you Jesus, for that. Once I surrendered to His call, no matter where it led me, He allowed me to be a part of some amazing life changing, God-sized moments right here at “home base.”
Do you find yourself open to God’s leadership, regardless of where it leads or what it leads to? What do you think about His reaction to the men He met on the road? What would you do if you were them? Would you be willing to go when the stakes were so high?
About a year and a half ago, Wade and I were convicted by the Lord to not put ourselves in a position where, if called, we would not be willing or able to drop everything and follow Him anywhere. For that reason, we rolled up the house plans we had drawn up. We laid down the dream home we planned to build on his family property, knowing that if we built a home on his family property, we wouldn’t be willing to sell it. We also knew that we would be under a heavier amount of debt than we already were from student loans. It was a hard thing to give up, and we lost the money we had already put into it, but we didn’t really lose a thing. In fact, we gained freedom. We are free to go where He leads, and free to stay when He tells us to.
Eliminate Excuse // Find Freedom.
Be willing. Be ready.
What are some ways we can practically prepare ourselves to follow Jesus, should He call us to a major life change? How can we run from the "American Dream" that so often entangles us and run instead towards His kingdom purposes? By making a plan to pay off debt? Living below our means so that we have extra to serve others? Laying our desires at the feet of Jesus and praying for His will and not our own?
Oh Lord, we are so good at filling up our lives with things that ultimately weigh us down. Open our eyes to the things we should let go of, as we grasp tightly onto You instead. When You tell us to drop everything and follow You, it's not because You don't want us to have good things, it's because You want us to have GREAT things. So, when the enemy starts to whisper his lies that we're not good enough, not worthy enough, not ready enough, I pray that You will silence his voice. May we only hear Your truth -- that you love us and have invited us to be a part of your work here on Earth. Break our hearts for our current mission field. Prepare us for Harvest work. When you say go, may we go freely -- without looking back. When sacrifice is required, may we do so willingly. Use us Lord. No excuses.
Join the conversation! I'd love to hear from you. I will respond to all comments both in the comment section and via email (if applicable).