Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Don’t Look Back: Losing to Gain

Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”- Luke 9:61-62

I’ve been chewing on this Luke 9 passage. I remember hearing how this passage is like marriage vows and it’s a joyful commitment to God. If I’m honest, as I read them now, years later, I’m not sure I agree. In fact, Jesus was teaching that following Him was going to be hard and people who didn’t want it to be hard should just leave and go back to what they were doing. He said by following Him you may not even have housing and you will have to leave people and places you love. He’s preparing them that going in His name will not be easy and they will not be loved by all.

I’m struck most by the call to not even say goodbye to anyone but go forward in the work He calls. Though we were blessed to have a wonderful “goodbye party” before we left NJ, I see now my tendency to look back. I LOVE our call and the immediate impact Andy has on people who would never know the name Jesus but now can through his labor. I cry sometimes when I think that He chose us to come and follow Him here to serve others.

Yet, I miss seeing family and celebrating big moments and some everyday moments with them. I miss having consistent paychecks. I miss having bonded time-tested friendships where people rejoice when they see growth in our lives because they know where God has taken us from. I miss raising my children in the house/neighborhood/town where I’ve known and been known my whole life. I miss our postman Fred, who daily preached to me that “He’s coming back soon” while he handed me our neighbors mail by accident. I miss pouring into waitresses/owners of restaurants we loved to pray with and for them and share Jesus with them. I miss our 20 Something group where we stayed long nights and sometimes whole weekends just praying for one another in hard times, praising God together, and digging in His Word to know Him more. There are so many more…  Leaving isn’t easy, even when there’s so much we had to come here to. Just typing it brings fresh tears. I won’t lie, it’s hard.

So what can I learn in this? And why is God calling me not to look back, but instead to press on forward into Him and His call?

“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”- Philippians 3:12-14

To be continued….

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