A couple of years ago, Francis Chan stepped away from the church he had led in California for fifteen years because God was calling him to something else. He didn’t know what that something else was, he just knew he needed to trust and move on. Recently the Senior Pastor of the fellowship I attend made a similar announcement. He would be transitioning out of his role to pursue an undefined path. Like Abraham, he doesn’t know where he’s going; he simply knows he is being told to go. I admire their courage to abandon everything to follow God to places unknown.
Are you willing to follow God no matter what? Could you really walk away from everything you own and everyone you know for the sake of Jesus Christ? It is a question I have been battling for some time and confess I have not yet made a similar leap. I trust God explicitly with my heart, but my mind continues to get in the way. The realities of life invade my passionate desire to follow Jesus without any backdrop of security. We have been taught that we must balance wisdom with faith. Most of us don’t go stepping off the roof of a skyscraper trusting Jesus will bring us safely to the ground. That shows a legitimate lack of wisdom. We are finite beings that are confined to live by the laws of a physical world (we are not immune from gravity, for example).
Walking away from a job trusting that Jesus will care for your needs is a weighty proposition. It works out for some, but for others, not so much. The Bible never promises success in every endeavor; it does, however, promise that if we will trust our lives to Christ and work to glorify Him, then we will spend eternity in His presence. No matter how bad things get on earth, this is a promise that provides ultimate comfort and security. Life is more than comfort, investments and personal pleasure; it’s more than the car you drive, the house in which you dwell or the size of your paycheck. Life is simply about Jesus; knowing Him and serving Him. Too often our decisions boil down to choosing between God and personal comfort.
Remembering our purpose on earth can bring clarity to an otherwise murky decision process. Are we making our choices based on Kingdom directives or earthly economics? It can prove difficult in our Western society to dismiss the pull and norms of our culture. All our lives we have been taught to be financially wealthy, to become as successful as possible and to care first for our own needs. The Kingdom of God demands that we give all that we have in service to Jesus, submitting to those around us in order to serve their needs first, and to consider ourselves willing slaves of God. When we see life through the eyes of Christ, our perspective will be dramatically altered. Our decision process will gain new parameters. No longer will we choose a direction based on what seems most comfortable or financially prudent. When our hearts begin to break over the very things that break the heart of God, we will be compelled to choose that which results in bringing eternal glory to our King.
Having said all this, learning to make decisions from a Kingdom perspective is not an easy matter. We have years of teaching and fears to overcome. Family and friends will not understand and will probably vigorously oppose the decision. While this is generally driven by their own fear and lack of faith, it can nevertheless create great uncertainty for us. It is then we must remember whom we serve; if we serve Jesus first and only, the opinions of others will not matter. While we should certainly seek wise and Godly counsel, ultimately we must choose to do that which God is calling us to do. There is far greater uncertainty in running from God than running toward Him; just ask Jonah (Jonah 1-3).
While decisions are not easy or to be taken lightly, there truly is a simple reason why some people turn away from all they know to follow Jesus and others don’t. Those who do are not super spiritual beings; they have no secret gene that allows them to take greater risks. They simply desire to follow Christ more than anything this life can offer them. They choose to forsake the illusion of earthly security for the certainty of eternal salvation. They have died to themselves and have chosen to serve Christ no matter what the cost in this life. With an eternal perspective, any sense of success as defined by this world pales and fades away. I have my own issues to deal with in this area, how about you? What is it that you have been putting off for God in favor of maintaining your own comfort and sense of security? In the end, anything we have accumulated in this life will disappear; there is nothing eternal in the physical realm. Are you willing to follow Jesus no matter the cost? Only the spiritual will endure; only what we do for Christ will last. Only He can provide the comfort and security you seek; only He can fill the deepest yearnings of your heart. True life and lasting security is found in Christ alone.