Monday, April 20, 2015

This week's lesson (April 18-24): the call to discipleship

Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. Your clothes did not wear out and your feed did not swell during these forty years. Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the LORD you God disciplines you. -- Deuteronomy 8:2-5, NIV
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

Unfortunately, the reverse is also true.

You can't just pick up and go, after all. No, there are bags to pack. Tickets to buy. Rooms to reserve, routes to research, and emergency back-up plans to prepare for those unexpected events that we try to expect anyway.

All of which takes time.

All of which takes effort.

All of which Jesus avoid when he sends out his followers without "a purse or bag or sandals" (Luke 10:4, NIV).

And no, he's not saying that planning isn't important -- it is, especially when you're dealing with children.

But Christ is dealing with adults:
  • Adults he's trained.
  • Adults he's given a clear mission statement.
  • Adults who need to find out just how far they can go with nothing but their wits, their training,  and God's spirit to guide.
They're like students in one of those wilderness survival courses, in other words -- the kind where they take you into the woods for your final exam, then make you find your way home with nothing but a knife, a book of matches, and a brown paper bag.

And like those students (or like anyone whose luggage has been lost by an airline), they're going to find out that you can get by with a lot less than you ever thought you could.

So don't be surprised if Jesus does the same to you.

No, don't be surprised if he asks you to jump right into a situation without all the planning and preparation you'd like to have.

Nothing wrong with planning and preparation, mind you.

But sometimes, you need to start with that first step.

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