Nicole has graciously allowed me to guest write for her today. I was glad to do it because I was struck by a a couple of passages in Luke 10-12 which dovetailed with a message we just watched online from Francis Chan, whose book “Crazy Love” and whose messages have deeply challenged me.
The recurring message I see in this part of Luke’s gospel is of trust in God. It starts with the sending out of the seventy-two, who “carry no money belt, no bag, no shoes; and greet no one on the way” (10:4). Can you imagine? Not even a change of clothes. If I walk out the front door of my house without my wallet, I feel like I’ve walked out naked, whether there’s money in there or not. And my keys are ALWAYS in my left front pants pocket. If they’re not there, something’s wrong and I drop everything until I find them. Seriously. Could I even walk out of the house without my keys for Jesus? Yet these men left everything and took nothing with them, trusting God completely for everything they would need.
Sometimes I wonder if I truly trust in God. I trust in God to produce the outcomes I desire, sure. That’s great, when he does. What about when he doesn’t? Do I hedge my bets? I sometimes feel like I live as though God weren’t really sovereign, which of course he is – and I’m not just talking about sin, I’m talking about faith. Am I trusting my Creator, or a direct deposit payroll? My Maker, or a socioeconomic system that’s placed me in a position of comfort relative to most of the world? For me, one of the hidden blessings of hard economic times can be an invigorated faith. The AA Big Book puts it this way: “freedom from fear was more important than freedom from want.” Jesus has shown me this many times, but sometimes I still want to cling to the false security of mammon.
Francis Chan was talking tonight about boldness, which I think is a part of that trust in God. Another quote from the AA Big Book: “We are people who normally would not mix.” That statement describes me perfectly! I am a person who normally would not mix. With ANYONE. I have so many fear-of-rejection and fear-of-abandonment issues that I have spent most of my life emotionally curled up in a little ball keeping everyone at a distance. And in the past couple of weeks God has been pushing me into relationships with people. Just today, I finally learned the name of my next door neighbor whom I’ve lived by for, um, three years now. Yesterday my son dragged me down the block to meet some other neighbors because the guy was fixing something on his (my son’s) bike. And after all, how can I be a witness for Christ to anyone (or for that matter have any purpose on the earth) and not be bold about reaching out to other people. In many ways lately, I’ve felt God challenging me to crawl out from under my rock — even if the sunlight turns me to dust.
Of course, as Nicole (who is now apparently my editor) has pointed out, all of this isn’t about me. I’d like to think that it is, but it isn’t. In Luke 10:1 we see that he “sent them in pairs ahead of Him to every city and place where He Himself was going to come.” They went out to stay in the homes of those they were ministering to, building relationships with them (vv. 7-9) until He Himself came behind them. And verse 17 tells us the result: they “returned with joy.” They went out boldly, and He didn’t fail them. That’s an inspiration.
Jesse, thanks for writing today’s post. Next I will be reading Luke 13 and 14.