“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”
– Matthew 28:19
Just a few days ago I was reading in the devotional book Experiencing God Day-By-Day by Henry T. Blackaby & Richard Blackaby. I was struck by the following words [Page 255].
“Our Master commands us to ‘go’. We need permission to stay! The gospel is the account of Jesus leaving His Father’s right hand to go to Calvary. Jesus instructed those who wanted to be His disciples to leave their homes and their comforts and follow Him. Some insisted that they could not go yet because they still had to care for elderly parents [Luke 9:59-60]. Others wanted to make sure everything was in order first [Luke 9:61-62]. Still others expressed willingness to follow but wanted to know the details of what they would be doing [Luke 9:57-58]. Jesus never excused those who struggled to follow Him. He made it clear that to follow Him meant He set the direction and they were to follow.”
I believe we convince ourselves that Jesus doesn’t really want us to adjust our lives. We look around and see the success we are enjoying and think that is sufficient. Yet Jesus often told His disciples to go elsewhere in spite of the success they were experiencing. Remember Peter in Luke 5 where He had just pulled in the greatest catch of fish of his entire career? And right after that Jesus invited Peter to leave everything and come go with Him as He sought to catch men instead of fish [Luke 5:1-11]. Or how about deacon Phillip who was enjoying astounding success as an evangelist in Samaria? You know what happened next, don’t you? Sure, the Holy Spirit instructed him to go the desert [Acts 8:25-40]. Success where we are can be our greatest hindrance to going where Jesus wants us to be.
If we become too comfortable where we are, we may resist Christ’s invitation to go elsewhere. Don’t assume that God does not want you to go in service for Him. He may lead you to go across the street, or go over to the office water cooler to share Jesus with a neighbor or workmate. He may want you to go to Haiti or somewhere far from here to minister for Him. Jesus may want you to commit to going with your fellow members [or by yourself] out visiting shut-ins and those who have visited our church. He may want you to go the extra mile to love your spouse, children, or parents. Just maybe there is someone God wants you to go to in order to bring reconciliation. For some of us God may want us to go and volunteer at Main Street Mission or some other local ministry. Possibly God is seeking some of us to go and get further education so He can more effectively use us in His service.
I’m convinced God wants all of us to be going for Him. I’m also convinced that that not enough of us are going. I’m even convinced that many of us put limits on our going – this far and no more. This pastor tends to fall into this last category. Yes, I am going for the Lord – at times going a lot. But am I going under His direction to all the places He wants me to go? Too often I want to stay in my comfort zone and not go too far from it.
There is one more thing I’m convinced of – I believe God wants most, if not all of us, to GO to our knees in confession about how we have not gone as the Lord has instructed us to and GO to Him in commitment as we make ourselves available to go anywhere He desires us to go. Remember, we need God’s permission to stay. Do you have that permission? Then what is keeping you from Going? Let’s prod each other into going. I may need your swift kick in the you know what to get me off of “stay”. I give you permission to lovingly do that if you are also seeking to go.
Wherever He leads – Pastor Steve