Good evening everyone!
We have had so many questions flooding in about this journey to being long-term missionaries and I just felt lead to address a few things tonight. One of the questions revolves around why we are doing things the way we are. For example, why are we selling all of our possessions and taking our children into missions? In order to answer this appropriately, I must lay some foundations.
First off, I believe in Jesus and the authority of the Bible. If you don’t, I think there’s still some good stuff in here for you so don’t leave just yet. Just pretend. So, we are all believing that the Bible is The Voice of God put on paper (or at least pretending for now). This is also referred to as His Word. Ephesians 6:17 describes the Word as the sword of the Spirit. I was interested in really digging into this analogy so I broke out 4 Bible translations, 2 concordances, and 1 commentary for this blog! The Lord kept saying “this ain’t no butter knife”. There are two different words for sword in Greek used in the New Testament; one means spear – usually held by someone in authority. We are going to talk about the other, more bloody one, machaira. This is “a short sword or dagger” used in battle. It’s Hebrew counterpart is the word chereb which is a merciless, attacking weapon also referred to as a slaughter knife. Ok Sarah, you are getting a little too intense for me, right? I guess the point is, the Word of God is not meant to butter some bread if you know what I mean. It should cut out the parts of us that need to be changed and trust me, that is BLOODY. We need to take what Christ says in the Bible seriously.
I have been thinking about the way we are going about this process over and over again. Submitting and re-submitting it in prayer. Particularly the issue of how quickly this is happening. I read in Mark when Jesus calls Simon (Peter) and Andrew to leave their jobs as fishermen to follow Him and noticed how they just dropped those nets and went. Mark 1:28 and 1:20 even use the word immediately – immediately they left their nets, immediately Zebedee’s sons left their father to join Christ. My first thought when reading these verses is that maybe I am not called to that specifically or maybe there’s an interpretational error. So on my quest to understand all of these things I walked upon Luke 14: 25-35:
“Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate their father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’
“Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.
“Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out.
“Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”
I don’t know about you, but this is one of those parts of scripture I like to look at and assume Jesus is being figurative. I mean, no disrespect to Jesus but, this is nuts! I want to pull out a few verses and kind of “zone in” on them for a second and then let you all decide. The scene is Jesus in a crowd of people preaching to them, scripture says this was a large crowd of followers. Jesus is taking the time to clarify the requirements of being a disciple to the group of followers. I point this out because the word used here for followers is someone who follows behind but, disciple means something different. Disciple is “a learner”; it means “to learn”. The greek word comes from the root word ‘math’ – “indicating thought accompanied by endeavor” (thanks Strong’s Concordance). Basically putting together our brains and actions while following our Lord; not just walking behind someone. I want to take verse 26 first because if we can’t swallow this one, then we are already closing The Book. This verse calls us to hate our own father, mother, wife, children, brothers and sisters and even our own life in order to be disciples. In yet another attempt to soften the scripture I looked up the greek word for hate and guess what? It means hate but, it also means having a higher regard for the Lord’s Will than that of anyone else. I think what Jesus is saying here is, you need to be so obedient to me that when others come up against what you know you should be doing it should look like a total disregard because your eyes are on Me. Jesus goes on to explain that if we are to become His disciples we better be aware of the cost before walking into it. Verse 33 states, “In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples”. Everything is the word pas meaning “each, every, any, all, the whole, everyone, all things, everything collectively”. The Message translates it nicely, ” Simply put, if you’re not willing to take what is dearest to you, whether plans or people, and kiss it good-bye, you can’t be my disciple”. Love that “kiss it good-bye”!
So what are we giving it up for? It is popularly known as The Great Commission, you can find it in Matthew 28:19-20
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
These were the words Jesus left with His disciples, of which I am now one, commanding that we make disciples of ALL nations. I spent 10 years after accepting Christ thinking that the Bible was just general guidelines for life but, it is more than that. It is a sword that should pierce our hearts and change us. Jeremy and I have been changed by God’s breathed Word. Not everyone can travel to share the Gospel but, there are folks out there meant to pray for us daily. I know many of you feel that pressed into your hearts already. There are also folks that are so stirred when they talk to us, see our family picture or read a blog post. You are out there and you don’t know why you love us but, you do. That stirring might be because you want to know more about Jesus and if you do, please contact us. It will be private and it will be the best phone call or email you could send. For others, God is calling you to give us financial support but, this all just seems too crazy for you. This is an opportunity for everyone to be a part of God’s commission through the means He provides. God promises us in His Word that those who trust in Him will not be put to shame. We pray that God is just heaping blessings on everyone who is a part of our lives.