Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Movin' Stuff, Again

In life there are many hard decisions we need to make.  This is especially true to the Christian who is no longer merely living to satisfy his own flesh, but living to follow his Lord.  The choices we are faced with many times make no sense to the world.  Many times these choices mean leaving people or even a life that we love.  Those choices are never an easy bridge to cross and are usually made worse by those who question our decisions.  This is especially true of the unsaved who could not possibly understand why we make the choices we do.  Fortunately, those choices we make come with a promise. 
Then Peter began to say to Him, "See, we have left all and followed You." So Jesus answered and said, "Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel's, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time--houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions--and in the age to come, eternal life." Mark 10:28-30 NKJV
I love this promise. I love that it is universal in that "no one" who leaves behind any of those things for the His sake does not receive more in return.  More than that, we receive more in this life as well as the next.  I know my posts for a few days now have centered upon the fact that my wife and I are called to move away from our current home.  I am sorry that I keep harping on this subject, but these lessons offer much comfort to myself and I am sure they also have a valuable lesson for others going through something similar. 

I know we often associate this passage with those who leave everything behind for service to God, but our obedience is our service to God.  In fact, our obedience is our highest service to God.  The missionary is a missionary because he is being obedient to the call of God.  The pastor left his worldly job to dedicate himself full time to the service of the Lord out of obedience to the call of God.  The worship leaders leads worship out of obedience to God and the calling upon their lives.  In fact, if you are not called to any of those offices, performing them becomes a matter of disobedience.  Even good intentions are not an excuse for disobedience.  By doing what God has not called you to do means you are not doing what God has called you to do.  Look at how well well-intended disobedience worked for Saul when he failed to destroy the Amalekites and all their animals and livestock.
So Samuel said: "Has the LORD [as great] delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, [And] to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion [is as] the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness [is as] iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He also has rejected you from [being] king." 1 Samuel 15:22-23 NKJV
Clearly, obedience is our greatest service to God.  Clearly, the promise of Jesus applies to anytime we leave something behind in obedience to God. 

This is a promise we see come true before our eyes time and time again in the church.  I know of several missionaries who left their homes and families in America only to find the husband or wife God had for them in the far off land where they were called.  I know of many who left colleges and careers for the sake of Jesus and God took care of all their needs.  I know of many who left behind friends and families to move to another area of the country only to be adopted by a new and loving church family.  The fact is no matter what we leave behind, if we leave it behind out of obedience to God, God will make sure we are compensated.  And not only are we compensated, but that compensation even comes in this life as well as the next. 

Conversely, there are many who ignore this call.  They stay where they are in rebellion to the call of God.  Sadly, they will never find the contentment they believed they would achieve in their rebellion.  They remain restless and grow frustrated as to why the joy they thought they would obtain where they are never comes.  The fact is that God has created us for a purpose and we will not find contentment and joy until we are fulfilling that purpose for which we were created.  There are also those who go when God tells them to stay. They leave a job or a church and go to find greener pastures where God told them there would not be any.  They learn the hard way that God knew better than they did when the happiness they thought they would find never comes.  No matter how well your intentions may be, disobedience will not lead to blessing.  If God has not called you to go be a missionary to some far off land, do not leave your family and job behind and go there.  If God has not called you to be a pastor, do not leave a job to pastor a church.  We must follow God and we can not expect God to follow us as we act on our own volition. God is sovereign, not us. 

And so that is where my wife and I are now.  My wife has resigned from her job. It was a job where she was used mightily by God over the past thirteen years, but God has been telling us that now is the time to move on.  We took that step in the faith that God has something even better for her after we move and there are already signs showing us that God has some very great things in mind.  Soon we will be selling our home, and doing so in the faith that God has something for us with the money we have to work with and if not that He will provide more money.  Soon, we will leave behind her family and friends that she has known her whole life.   They are a tremendous source of support and love and as hard as it will be for me to leave their day-to-day presence in our lives, I know it is so much harder for my wife.  But we do so in the faith that God has a new family for us, a family that will provide the support and fellowship we have grown to love.  We know our faith is founded upon the iron-clad promise of Jesus Christ.  There is no greater Guarantor of our promises than the God who can move Heaven and Earth to make them come to fruition. 
He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.  Romans 4:20-21 NKJV

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