Last night Aleta and I watched a movie called “Wild Hogs”. It’s a slapstick comedy about four middle-age guys who hit the open road on their motorcycles for a little unplanned, uncharted adventure. At one point, just before they take off on their trip, they take a stand against fear and timidity by throwing all their maps and cell phones away.
I thought it was an interesting scene that reminded me of another story from Matthew 10. In this story, Jesus sends out His disciples on a kind of short-term missions trip. Before they go, He says to them, “As you go, tell people ‘God’s kingdom is here for you!’ praying for people and healing them. Don’t plan ahead with money or luggage, or even extra clothes; for the worker is worthy of their support. Whatever place you enter, inquire who is worthy in it, and stay at their house until you leave. If they receive you, bless them. If they reject you, take back your blessing and stay somewhere else.”
Can you imagine if Jesus told you to do something like this? If He said to you, “Don’t worry about all the details; just go. Chuck your maps and cell phones and hit the open road, telling everyone you meet about Me and My kingdom!” Sounds scary, doesn’t it?
But that’s exactly the kind of reckless obedience required for us to experience God and His life in us. He told Abraham to go, without revealing the final destination. He told Moses to go (on a suicide mission to Egypt, I might add) without revealing His plan of deliverance. He told Joseph and Mary to go to Bethlehem, then Egypt, then Nazareth, without revealing how He would provide for them once there. And He’s telling us today, right now, to simply, “Go”.
This is what it means to follow Jesus. God has a place He’s calling each of us to this month, this week, maybe even this day. It will become clear as we spend daily time seeking Jesus in prayer and the word, and waiting in silence for Him to answer. It might be a local ministry like a homeless shelter or refugee education facility. It might be a certain area of town - taking walks through neighborhoods you normally avoid. It might be a difficult telephone call to someone you’re not comfortable around. Whatever it is, and however we feel about it, we must go because it’s only in that going that God’s life can really flow in and through us!
I know it can be intimidating. I feel it too. Lately, God’s been convicting me to begin visiting Lawndale, a part of town that's way outside of my comfort zone. I’m nervous so I’ve been procrastinating; but the longer I delay, the more I feel crushed under the weight of my sinful resistance. Just like all of you, I too must go. This is the life. It’s a life of “going”. And (halleluiah) it’s a going in which Jesus promises to be with us every step of the way. So with that encouragement in hand, I invite you to pray, discern a place, and then ... just go!