LENTEN MOMENTS — ASH WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 13, 2013
“And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”
Matthew 6:4, 6, 18.
When I was a child, I remember being very intrigued by today’s Gospel reading. I hardly listened to the part about “doing righteous deeds,” praying privately, or giving alms. No, what I was most interested in was that word “reward.“ God rewarding me. Earning rewards was important in my world: Extra allowance money for doing chores, the praise of a teacher for good work, stopping for donuts because I’d been good at church. And now, joy of joys, God would reward me, too? Cool!
I’m not terribly sure I got over that image of God as the Great Reward Giver until well into adulthood. I think a lot of adults never get over it. We still retain that image of God as a judge that we have to please. And if we do please God …. well, we get stuff. Good things happen. We are loved. We succeed. We feel good about ourselves. Eventually, we are let into Heaven. Our image of that is very vague, perhaps more stuff forever and ever.
I know the truth now. #It’s been dawning on me gradually over the years since I’ve been spending quality time with God every day. The events of the last couple of years have solidified this knowledge. And this is the truth: God is the Reward. God is the only real Reward. The presence of God in my life, which was always there but is now so much more real to me, is the Reward.
What’s the connection to today’s Gospel, where we are urged and expected to fast, pray and give to the poor (privately, if you please!)? Those things are the outer manifestations of the inner life, the presence of God in action … when we freely let God into our lives. Of course, our ‘righteous deeds’ should be done quietly. We aren’t after the praise of humans; we are simply doing what our Father always does. He is always caring for us, always communicating his love to us, always sacrificing himself for us.
So, the key here is relationship, isn’t it? That’s the Reward. A relationship with God.
And the only way to have a relationship with anyone is ….. all together now (most of you have been with me for years and years, so you know this) ……. SPENDING TIME. If you’ve been neglecting this part of your spiritual life, if busy-ness has been intruding on that precious relationship time with God, Lent is the perfect time to get back into the habit, back into training.
Let’s do it together.
Today’s Scripture Readings: Joel 2:12-18; Psalm 51; II Corinthians 5:20 to 6:2; Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18,
Today’s Meditation / Journal Prompt: You’ve already started your prayer time for today by simply reading this meditation. Now, before going on to other things, stop for the next ten minutes and talk with God for awhile. If you’re kind of flustered and anxious right now, start by doing some deep breathing. Then just be quiet for awhile. Let God’s peace envelope you. Let God communicate how much he loves you today. Just be still.
Today’s Activity: If you do not have a special place where you go to pray, set one up over the next few days. If you have one, take a look at how you might improve it. You need a quiet, private place where you will not be interrupted. Gather your Bible, paper and pens, anything that makes that space special to you. Think about it today, and get it done this week. It is an easy, pleasant task, and makes going to your prayer appointment with God so much easier.
In today’s first reading from Isaiah 55, God tells us that, just as the rain and snow come down from heaven and water everything before returning to the atmosphere, so God’s word comes to us and carries out God’s purposes. In the Gospel today, Jesus warns us not to pray “like the pagans who think that they will be heard because of their many words.”
Since we are discussing temptation this week, what temptation is implied in these readings? The temptation not to truly believe that God is enough for us, to not believe that our prayers are heard, to believe perhaps we must pray a certain way (with many words?). This is a trust issue — and always we are tempted not to trust God. “God is not powerful enough,” or “God doesn’t care about your little problems,” or “God won’t answer your prayer unless you pray the right way,” are variations on the same temptation. Do you really trust God? That was the temptation in the Garden of Eden that led to the mess we are in — “You will not die! God knows that you will become like him, knowing good and evil. …. You can’t trust what he told you.” Don’t you wonder if Satan grabbed a piece of that fruit and ate it in front of Eve to show her, “Look, I didn’t die!”
Here is the truth: God does hear us. God cares. God will ‘drop everything’ to help us when we ask for help. And God is enough for us–powerful enough to meet any problem, any challenge, even death itself. “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there until they have watered the earth … so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” [Isaiah 55:10-11]. If this is a problem for you (and it’s a problem at times for all of us), read all of Isaiah 54 and 55 today. There are numerous promises in these chapters. My favorite, as far as the tempter goes, is: “Whoever stirs up strife with you shall fall … No weapon that is fashioned against you shall prosper.” (Isaiah 54:15 and 17).
How about you? What trust issues do you have about prayer? Have seemingly unanswered prayers interfered with your trust? Can you go back to a specific incident where God said “no” to a specific request, but that great good came out of it?
Today’s Scripture readings: Isaiah 55:10-11; Psalm 34; Matthew 6:7-15.
LENTEN MOMENTS–MONDAY, MARCH 14, 2011
Yesterday’s Gospel for the First Sunday of Lent was the retelling of Jesus’ temptations in the desert after his 40-day fast. Think about this: Everything Satan wanted Jesus to do eventually happened, but not in the self-centered, arrogant way the tempter wanted. Jesus would not turn stones into bread to feed himself, but he would turn a little bread into a lot of bread to feed the hungry. He would not show off his special relationship with God by jumping off the temple, but he would demonstrate God’s power and love by curing the sick and casting out demons. And he would not bow down to the devil in order to take back the world from Satan’s dominion — instead he submitted to death, thus freeing us from sin and death.
We Christians are tempted just as Jesus was. Like Jesus, we have opportunities to give glory to God by turning away from what the evil one proposes and then seeing how God will use us to minister to others. For the next few days, let’s consider the temptations we experience.
Today’s Gospel is the familiar Great White Throne Judgment scene. Jesus tells us what the final judgment of ‘the nations’ will be like. The good and evil are separated, and each group is told, “whatever you did to the least of these my brothers, you did to me.” We all know this Scripture. We should also know that ‘the nations’ Jesus refers to are people who were not Christians in this life. Otherwise, why would they wonder, “When did we see you hungry, thirsty, naked ….?” They have never heard the Gospel; they knew nothing about Jesus, so how could they have cared for him — or neglected him? No real Christian, even the least attentive, could come to the judgment with these kinds of questions!
This temptation for us Christians is this: We can read this Gospel and think that we only have to do things, especially for the poor, instead of having a relationship with Jesus. Those who never heard of Jesus are judged that way. If they were moving toward God, in whatever faith they practiced, the fruit of Godliness and love will be there. And vice-versa. But we Christians have a greater responsibility. We are called to have a relationship with Christ, not merely practice a religion. That is our privilege — and our sacred duty. For it is only through that living, loving relationship with Christ that we will ever convince anyone that Christianity is not just another religion. Our oneness with Jesus is not only the sign to others that Jesus is real, it will also naturally produce the type of fruit Jesus talked about in this Gospel reading.
I am appalled when I hear Christians, even people in ministry, say things like, “My work is my prayer,” as though busyness and activity could take the place of daily quiet time before God and relationship building. This is like saying, “My work is my meal.” How long do you think you can work without food? How long does it take before you become weak, inefficient and irritable without nourishment? By the same token, your ministry, your everyday work which is your ministry, cannot be effective and you cannot be strong without daily going to God for quiet, for instructions, for respite. Nor can you resist the devil’s temptations.
And that is why, today especially, this is one of Satan’s best weapons: “My work is my prayer.” We modern Christians are ‘doers’ — busy, productive, running here and there with all the ‘stuff’ we do. We are part of our culture, and this is one of the hallmarks of 21st Century life. If we succumb to this temptation — and it is a temptation — we will find ourselves doing, not God’s will, but our own. We will have lost contact with God, and we will be wandering off on our own, doing things but wondering why we feel so empty. On the other hand, if we are faithful to spending time with God every morning when we get up; if we pull away from our work when God shows us it’s time, when we find ourselves getting frazzled and confused; if we keep the Sabbath, we will be nourished. And we will find ourselves producing the ‘fruit’ Jesus talked about — without all the stress and fatigue and angst.
How about you? Do you find yourself attracted to the “my work is my prayer” temptation? Do you feel that you have so much to do, you simply don’t have time for prayer? Try waking up a little earlier tomorrow, giving God the first 15 minutes of your day, even if it’s just to say, “Hello.” And then see how the day goes.
Today’s Scripture readings: Leviticus 19:1-2, 11-18; Psalm 19; Matthew 25:31-46.
LENTEN MOMENTS — SATURDAY, MARCH 12
“If you hold back your foot on the Sabbath
from following your own pursuits on my holy day;
If you call the Sabbath a delight, and the Lord’s holy day honorable;
If you honor it by not following your ways, seeking your own interests …
Then you shall delight in the Lord ….”
How fitting that today’s first reading — just before the first Sabbath of our Lenten season — is about keeping the Sabbath! If there is one thing we Christians can do to move forward in holiness, draw closer to God and our loved ones, and make a difference in our Lenten observance, it is to keep the Sabbath.
The Sabbath is the greatest example of God taking away with one hand, and giving back with the other. We give a whole day, yes a whole day, to God. We turn away from our own pursuits, our need to produce, to get things done. And God gives us back the day as a gift. We become less stressed (and this effect can last all through the following week!). We give our minds and bodies the rest they need. We pay attention to our relationships with our loved ones, often so rushed during the work week. And we do not lose any time. Unlike returning from a vacation, returning from our Sabbath rest does not leave us ‘behind’ in our work.
I have found that keeping the Sabbath has made me more productive. Since I began this practice in 2002, I have accomplished more, been better organized, and had more energy for my work than I ever did before. Part of the reason is that Sabbath time is part of God’s ‘economy,’ the same mechanism that works for tithing. Few of us these days can ‘afford’ to tithe, but those of us who do tithe, find we have all the money we need. In the same way, few of us can ‘afford’ to take a whole day off every week for Sabbath, but when we do it, we suddenly have plenty of time to do all that is necessary. How does that work? Well … it’s a ‘God thing.’ And it does work.
If you have never seriously kept the Sabbath, if you tend to work seven days a week, it’s time to give God’s solution to your time constraints a try. And if you’ve been getting lax in this area, it’s time to ‘hold back your foot from following your own pursuits.’ And remember: Sundays, even during Lent, are ‘little Easters.’ So, enjoy yourself, relax, have fun, and eat all the chocolate you want!!!
As always, I do not write a Lenten Moment on the Sabbath. Be back on Monday.
Today’s Scripture readings: Isaiah 58:9b-14; Psalm 86; Luke 5:27-32.
Sunday Scripture readings: Genesis 2:7-9 and 3:1-7; Psalm 51; Romans 5:12-19; Matthew 4:1-11.
LENTEN MOMENTS — FRIDAY, MARCH 11, 2011
The disciples of John approached Jesus and said,
“Why do we and the Pharisees fast much, but your disciples do not fast?”
What we have here in today’s readings is a failure to communicate! Isaiah is sent by God to tell the people of their wickedness; the Israelites ask in reply, “Why do we fast, and you do not see it? afflict ourselves, and you take no note of it?” John the Baptist’s disciples ask a similar question of Jesus: Why are we fasting, but you are not?
We must understand that our ways are not God’s ways. “We’re doing what You asked; we are obeying the letter of the Law. Why are you not happy??” we may ask. God says, “I do not need your sacrifices. I don’t need you to fast, dress in sackcloth, sprinkle yourself with ashes. What I want is people who think like me, who do the things I do. I want people who have tender hearts for the oppressed and poor; who weep over their own sins, but who also celebrate and rejoice when it is the proper time.”
God wants to re-make us in His image and likeness. Sin has dimmed God’s reflection in us, like a mirror that has become warped and clouded. We humans tend to look to the world for our cues about relating to God, but God’s ways are totally different. We cannot guess what God wants by looking at the world or our culture. The world says: Follow the rules; Be productive; Keep busy; Do this and do that. Then collect your pay and you are free to do whatever you like on your own time. We treat God the same way: I give God a certain amount of time (prayer time and Sunday services); I am productive all day long and I keep busy; then I collect my ‘pay’ (I am assured of eternal life because I earned it), and I am free to do whatever I want on my own time, in my own mind, in the autonomy of my life.
In God’s ‘economy,’ there is no “God time” and “my time.” There is no earning eternal life by our own efforts. There are no compartments–this is mine; this is God’s. God’s idea of eternal life is what Jesus asked of the Father just before his death: “I ask … that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us … that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one.” (John 17:20-23). The unity of the Godhead — absolute oneness and holiness — that is God’s vision for us.
Are we moving toward that unity God desires by immersing ourselves in God’s presence day by day, by allowing God to heal us and teach us? Or are we just ‘doing stuff for God,’ following the rules, dong the right thing, believing it’s some kind of magic trick and we will become holy that way?
Ask God to show you the areas in your life that are still ‘yours,’ the areas where you are holding out, holding on to your own thinking, refusing to surrender.
Today’s Scripture readings: Isaiah 58:1-9a; Psalm 51; Matthew 9:14-15.
LENTEN MOMENTS — THURSDAY: MARCH 10, 2011
Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked,
or take the path that sinners tread …
They are like trees planted by streams of water …
Their leaves do not wither. In all that they do, they prosper.
Do you ever get discouraged at the state of the world? Are you tired of feeling like an oddball because you follow Jesus and have values that are counter-cultural? Do you get weary of the spiritual battle that goes on all around you, especially when you see your children and grandchildren being lured away from God into the emptiness that the world offers? I sure do! Sometimes, it feels overwhelming. Sometimes it feels as though we are swimming upstream, the whole world is going in the other direction, and evil is stronger than good. Sometimes.
Today’s Scripture readings are all about making the choice to believe, to hold on to God, to hope. “I have set before you life and prosperity, death and doom,” God tells us through Moses. Jesus tells us, “Whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.” At times, the choice seems clear and logical. Why would anyone turn away from God? “I don’t know how anyone can get through this life without faith,” a friend told me just today. At other times, as the great evangelist, Oswald Chambers, put it, the things that Jesus stands for seem like will-o‘-the-wisps, insubstantial, maybe unreal. In fact, that is one of the enemy’s chief temptations. “How can you believe all that. Look around you. This is real, not that.”
So here is the test: God promises us in Psalm 1 that those who believe will be “like trees planted by streams of water … Their leaves do not wither. In all that they do, they prosper.” Be honest now. No matter how bad things get, don’t you find that you always have that Source of fresh water deep within? No matter how down you get, God always lifts you up. Your ‘leaves,’ your spirit never really withers and dies. You may get tired of it all, but you also get stronger through every trial. Notice also that Psalm 1 does not say that everything you do will prosper, but that in everything, you will prosper. Haven’t you found that? I’ve experienced some spectacular failures in my life, but, somehow, in God, I always come out of it ‘smelling like a rose!’
Take some time today to think about that image of a tree planted by a stream of water. No matter what happens on the outside, the tree is always nourished, always has a Source of life to draw from. Think of specific incidents in your life that seemed hopeless but, somehow, God brought victory out of it and ‘prospered’ you.
Today’s Scripture readings: Deuteronomy 30:15-20; Psalm 1; Luke 9:22-25.
“Even now, says the Lord,
return to me with your whole heart …
Why should they say among the peoples,
‘Where is their God?’” [Joel 2:12, 18]
If you attend an Ash Wednesday service today, more than likely, you’ll hear this reading from Joel, chapter 2. It speaks of weeping and mourning for sin, calling the assembly to proclaim a fast. The first and last verses of that reading are the essence of what Lent is all about: Returning to God with our whole hearts, and giving witness among people who do not know God. Today’s second reading from II Corinthians begins, “We are ambassadors for Christ.”
Our private spirituality and our public witness are never separate entities. Each depends on the other. We cannot witness unless we are authentic before God in our hearts. And our personal spirituality is nothing if we are not willing to be ‘ambassadors for Christ.’ Hiding our light under a bushel basket, keeping our religion private is not an option in Christianity. The Good News is too good to keep to ourselves. There are people all around us who are starving, dying for the Truth.
But the simple (if not easy) part of Christianity is this: If we take care of the inner life, if we are faithful to meeting with God every day and open to God’s movement in our hearts, the public witness kind of takes care of itself. We may have to push ourselves at times to speak out when we know we should, but our words will be blessed with God’s grace and wisdom. Lent is the time when most of us need to return to God with our whole hearts. We get lazy. We pick up attitudes and habits that are not Godly. We get busy with our outer duty and neglect our inner beauty. The next 40 days are an opportunity — “Return to me with your whole heart.”
How will you spend this Lent? Personally, I am going to be more faithful to coming into God’s presence first thing when I wake up. Those 15 minutes are so important. If I have to be somewhere early, I will rise earlier. How about you?
Today’s Scripture readings: Joel 2:12-18; Psalm 51; II Corinthians 5:20-6:2; Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18.
PENTECOST MOMENTS — AUGUST 3, 2010
‘THE MANY FACES OF GREED’
Last Sunday’s scripture readings were so perfectly coordinated. They were all about greed. We started with a reading from Ecclesiastes: “Vanity of vanities! All is vanity.” Then Psalm 90: “For all our days pass away … they are soon gone and we fly away.” Finally, we heard Jesus’ parable of the rich fool. Cheerful stuff! And very apropos to our world’s fixation with ‘stuff’ and with being productive and busy.
Here’s a perfect example of our culture’s obsession with greed: The news this week is that our economy is not recovering from the recession as well as we hoped. The chief sign of that? Not enough of us are going out and buying ‘stuff.’ In this culture, that’s a bad omen.
There are many kinds of greed: Greed for possessions, to accumulate as much ‘stuff’ as we can. There is greed for pleasures, greed to get things done; greed to have power; greed to be in control of our lives. The writer of the book of Ecclesiastes (‘the preacher’) commented on our human tendency to work our whole lives in order to accumulate possessions. To paraphrase 2:20-23, he writes, “What’s the point? Someone works all his life — with wisdom and knowledge and skill — and he dies and has to leave it to someone else who didn’t work for it at all. Why do we do this? Our days are full of pain, our work is stressful, we can’t even sleep at night. It’s all vanity.”
“Teach us to number our days,” the Psalmist prays. We only have so long here on earth. Life passes by really quickly if we think about it from God’s perspective (“a thousand years is as a watch in the night”). Are we supposed to spend those years running after what the world says is important: money, status, stuff?
Jesus’ parable of the rich fool sums up the disparity between man’s perspective of life and God’s. The rich man has a bumper harvest and makes plans for stashing it safely away in bigger new barns, then retiring to enjoy his gains. But God ‘demands his life’ from him that very night. From the world’s point of view, this is totally unfair. What’s wrong with the man’s plans? He worked hard, probably all his life. He achieved a windfall through hard work and ingenuity. Why not leave the guy to enjoy his gains? But from God’s point of view, that might be the most harmful thing he could allow the man to do. We are not meant for this world; this is not our eternal destiny. If God allowed us to ‘rest on our laurels,’ as the rich man planned to do, we would become settled in this world, spiritually complacent. We would begin to die spiritually. God’s requiring the rich man’s life just when we was on the threshold of worldly achievement was a mercy — a severe mercy, but a mercy nonetheless.
Let’s talk about greed for the next week or so. Let’s talk about the many manifestations of greed in our culture and in our personal lives. Let’s talk about what sets off our greed, what tempts us to want things, to work ourselves into an exhausted state, to ignore our legitimate needs in favor of the world’s demands.
In the meantime, look over the three Scripture readings I refer to above:
Ecclesiastes 1:2-3, 2:21-26; 3:9-11a, 14; Psalm 90; and Luke 12:13-21.
Next time: Greed begins with looking. That’s where it all began in the Garden and where it continues to tempt us today.
PENTECOST MOMENTS — SATURDAY, JULY 10
TRAINING THE IMAGINATION
“You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast …” Isaiah 26:3.
In older translations of the above Scripture, the word ‘mind’ is translated ‘imagination.’ In the old Revised Version, this passage reads, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose imagination is stayed on Thee.” The imagination is part of the mind, one of the more important functions of our intellect. And it has a holy purpose.
When I was a youngster growing up in the ‘50s, imagination was not so appreciated by adults. “Get your head out of the clouds,” “Quit daydreaming,“ and “That’s just your imagination,” were common criticisms. Being a very imaginative little girl, I was made to feel ashamed of my flights of fancy, my rich inner life. No one ever thought to encourage me to become a writer, that’s for sure! I carried this attitude into adulthood, and my vivid imagination became the subject of a lot of prayer and worry. Then a friend gave me Oswald Chambers’ classic book of daily meditations, My Utmost for His Highest. I was startled to read Chambers’ feelings about imagination: “Imagination is the greatest gift God has given us and it ought to be devoted entirely to Him.” [Page 42].
If you think about it, Jesus was one of the most imaginative people ever. All those stories and parables he made up to teach his points came from a fertile imagination. One can see in Jesus what it means to have an imagination devoted entirely to God. Imagination is a way to leap beyond our mundane circumstances, to see connections between ordinary earthly happenings and spiritual truths. Imagination helps us put ourselves in God’s presence when we pray, to ‘see’ God in our mind’s eye and, thus love him more. We know the images we have of God are not complete, but that’s all right. Until we actually do see God face to face, our imaginations are all we have to picture God and may actually prepare us for that great encounter.
How do we devote and dedicate our imaginations to God? Here are a few things to consider:
Remember that God is “able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.” [Ephesians 3:20]. So … we should get into the habit of asking — and imagining!
Scripture Readings for Sunday, July 11: Deut. 30:10-14; Psalm 69:14, 17, 30-34; Colossians 1:15-20; Luke 10:25-37 (the Greatest Commandment and the Parable of the Good Samaritan).
Meditation: Read the Gospel reading for tomorrow. Samaritans were hated by the Jews, so for Jesus to tell a story where the hero was a Samaritan was a challenge for his hearers. Use your imagination to picture this story in modern times. Who would you substitute for the Samaritan as the unlikely hero of the story? A homeless person? An undocumented Mexican? That certain crabby neighbor no one likes?
PENTECOST MOMENTS — THURSDAY, JULY 8
“Do not take along any gold or silver or copper in your belts;
take no bag for the journey, or extra tunic, or sandals or staff;
for the worker is worth his keep.” (Matthew 10:9-10)
Jesus’ instructions to his disciples as he sent them out on their mission trip were very specific. They were to travel light, relying on God to provide everything they would need as they went from town to town, preaching, healing and casting out demons. They would not need money or a bag of food. God would see that people fed them each day. They would not need an extra tunic, which was used as a cover while sleeping. God would provide beds each night. They would not need extra sandals or a staff. God would see that they never had to walk very far before they got to the next place to stop and preach, where some hospitable person would take them in.
Two things strike me in this Scripture passage. First, the precision of Jesus’ instructions and all the things he had to tell his disciples not to bring along. Second, the amount of trust Jesus was asking the fledgling disciples to exercise.
At first, when you see the list above — gold, silver, copper, provision bag, extra tunic, extra sandals, staff — it sounds as though the disciples usually carted around a lot of ‘stuff.’ Still, their eyes would pop out of their heads if they saw what we moderns take along when we travel! Jesus and the disciples walked around Palestine, probably for weeks or months at a time, sleeping outside, buying food along the way. A little spending money, an extra tunic and sandals, and a staff to help them walk would be bare necessities. We don’t think about this. In the movies, Jesus and the disciples just stroll along, carrying nothing. But it wasn’t like that. They each ‘schlepped’ their own provisions, probably in bags hooked to their rope belts. Remember that Jesus told the man who wanted to follow him: “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” (Matthew 8:20). The disciples were in the same situation.
Then Jesus challenges them to take that trust in God to another level. When they set out for their ‘mission trips,’ Jesus told them not to bring anything, not even the bare necessities they normally carried. “God will provide,” Jesus told them. “You won’t need food, you won’t need money, you won’t need a sleeping cover, you won’t even need your walking stick.” This was training in trust. And the biggest trust factor is not so much what God asked them to do, but that God asked them not to cart along all their ‘stuff.’
That’s the real test, isn’t it? We’ll do anything for God (we say), but we like to have our creature comforts while we’re doing it. And not only our comforts, but a little extra ‘just in case.’ Just in case God doesn’t come through for us and we are left to our own devices. Won’t we be glad then that we brought those extra sandals, that we had a little extra cash? We don’t think of our ‘harmless’ little hoarding, our fondness for our things, our need for ‘financial security’ (whatever that is!) as not trusting God. But God knows just how much or how little we rely on him. And he will bring us to the place where we have to decide to go out, as those disciples did, on faith alone.
I know a young woman, a member of my parish in fact, who is following God’s call to the mission field. She has given up a good job, sold her house, and plans to leave this month. She has no idea what God will do, where she will live. All she knows is that God has said, “Come, follow me,” so she’s going. And she also knows that the people where she is going are full of joy, full of anticipation of what God is going to do when she gets there. I asked her how it felt, and she said it’s very freeing to just trust in God, not to know what’s going to happen next. Freeing.
I know a middle-aged man, well maybe he’s beyond middle age now, who has been called to be a pilgrim for the Lord for decades now. He walks all over the country, living on whatever God provides, staying where he is asked, speaking to groups when invited to. His name is Pilgrim George, and I have never met a holier man. Children love him, naturally. He has an aura around him that makes you feel that you are in the very presence of Jesus, which you are. And he has nothing, he owns nothing except the clothes on his back. And he is a very happy person. And free.
How light are you traveling these days?
How free do you feel?
Scripture: Read the story in Matthew 19:16-30. Image that you are the young man and that Jesus makes the same request of you. How are you feeling? Would you do it?
Let’s Talk About It!! Has there ever been a time when you ‘went out with the Lord,’ totally trusting in God’s provision, not knowing what was going to happen? Go to my blog at www.susankrowland.com/blog1 and let’s talk about it. I would love to hear your stories.