Another place of wrestling involves the cost. From our culture’s perspective, the cost of moving is pretty big. One of the missionary kids from Brazil, while staying at our house, so innocently said, You guys are leaving this house to live where we live! What we are leaving is what many spend their lives pursuing. Comfort, leisure, future security. This in me, too, and this has forced me to ask what is true about money and security.
Jesus talked a lot about money—you can’t chase money and God, how you spend money reveals your heart’s desires —–do I believe him?
Do I need to focus on my income and financial security, or is it something I should have no care for? Mt 6.
Walking away from apparent financial security requires either foolishness (some have told me so) or a real trust in the God who has said:
That if I seek first his kingdom, all I need will be given to me
That HE is my provider- not me, no matter what it feels like
That giving is better than receiving
That being a servant to the least is a worthy life goal
That those who leave houses and family for his sake will be rewarded
Do I believe what for so long I’ve said I believe? The rich young ruler in Matt 19 essentially said with words, I’m there—I want to follow you, I’ve got what it takes. Jesus said sell what you have, follow me.
Jesus doesn’t ask this of all of us, but he asked this of us, by the nature of the call. The call to go presented a choice. I can go to an area where my skills and gifts will be really useful in His kingdom work. But to go, I must walk away from my current prosperity. If I believe in the power of money and earthly security, this is a cruel choice. If I believe in Jesus, this is a glorious invitation to the front lines of the kingdom battle. An opportunity to partake in an effort to see more people see Him, as He is.
So my retirement, my kids’ college, anything having to do with tomorrow, is up to him, not up to me
This, of course, has always been the case, now its simply more apparent to me!
If you’re trying desperately follow Jesus and feeling the pull and the pace of this culture, I think Jesus would have you come to Him with your burden. He knows your heart and your struggle, and it is a struggle. He can bring rest.
To wrap up, another place of struggle, kind of along these lines, involves our stepping into a life so unfamiliar to us.
I like familiar.
Stepping into the unfamiliar removes my ability to trust in myself, my routines, my relationships, my strengths, my current gifts…
I can allow my comfort to influence my choice and choose to stay in the familiar or I can walk into the unfamiliar and the needs of the people in the Xingu area. Isn’t that the story of The good Samaritain —to stop and assist this guy involves inconvenience, risk, cost to him—-but the hurt man sure benefited !
I’m seeing that the unfamiliar causes feelings of insecurity, and cluelessness that become another opportunity for God to be God to me. Just like pain and hardship opens our hearts to him, so does weakness and insecurity. God loves weak, insecure people (because we all are!). Most of the time, we walk “Much Afraid”, and He would remind us that HE is our provider, HE is our comfort, HE is our guide, HE is our strength.
Jesus already knows what’s ahead, you and I can walk into it because of who HE is, not who we are
I will need him in Brazil to be a dad, to be a husband, to be a friend, to be a doctor.—–nothing will be comfortable or familiar, especially at first.
God operates on a pretty simple plane with me. He told me one day, “Tim, life is hard” and I needed to hear it. Sometimes, I get caught in the empty pursuit of trying to make life easier. Or I equate ease with blessing. Our choice has us walking toward a more difficult life, and He said its ok.
He has opened my eyes to the fact that life in Brazil will be difficult, if I’m following Jesus, and life here would have been difficult, if I stayed, and followed Jesus. And yet, if I’m following Jesus, I’ll be so rich. I need reminded often that the secret of life and peace is walking with Him and pursuing Him, not having ease or leisure.
And, you know, we are often used most when we’re willing to walk, available, into messy, painful, hard circumstances.
So my wrestling has been in an arena of basic stuff. I’ve spent much time considering the promises of God — but even more time considering, the One who promises.
And this wrestling will continue….
Is God good? I’m more convinced today that He is good, that He can be trusted with every detail of my life.
Is God in control?
He will be in control of every moment, every ministry opportunity, my every “mistake”, every illness and injury,
And he will be in control of every smile, every accurate diagnosis and treatment, every child’s hug, every blessing,
Bets came to a similar place when we were in Brazil—the boys and I went away for a weekend and God visited her and brought her to the simple realization that this was His call She was able to respond with “because You are good, because You are in control, be it done unto me as you will”. What a beautiful place to be.
For you here and us there, going forward, will difficulties come? Yes
And we will wrestle and question again
Will life for us be hard? Yes
God is calling us to care, and caring for the least is hard
God is calling us to serve, and serving, placing another’s best first is always difficult
God is calling us to the front lines, the front lines of risking self-harm to share the love of Jesus with another
No one on the front lines fights without suffering
But caring, serving, front line work IS the place to be
Why? — because our God, who has touched us and saved each of us from ourselves, gets glory, gets the attention he’s due – and others find life
If more eyes will see God’s deep affection for them, it will be worth it
If more hurting people have an arm put around them and feel cared for, whether they’re healed or not, it will all be worth it
If heaven looks a little different, because we go…..
I would encourage you today…
Especially if you are facing difficult circumstances, with your health, with your marriage, with anxiety or depression, I would encourage you to remember the Father’s hands from the picture. He knows right where you are, and He invites you to His lap for questions, and to participate in His work, as you are. And remember, too, that you are surrounded by people who have hurt.
The purpose of life is to turn our eyes and the eyes of others to Jesus—-nothing more. He may be calling you this morning to a life more devoted to this end. A missionary call? A ministry call, to kids, to teens, to people who are hurting as you have hurt? What person or persons is God calling you to?
Perhaps He’s simply calling you and me to a new sober awareness of those around you, who need an arm around them, who need a listening ear.
Jesus, to be used by you, for your purposes, we present ourselves today…
We are hoping for some time in November for departure. The visa process continues. He knows….