Monday, 21 March 2011

Follow me

Well. You've made me think this morning, God.

Got back from church and ate my dinner today thinking about people who answer a call from you, to leave their families and go and live on the other side of the world in an alien culture, learn to speak a language that's strange to them, bring up their children there, live their lives there.  


It's bravery that I can't get my head round. It's hard enough bringing up two children here in the UK when I'm cushioned by all the bits and pieces around me; nice house, enough to eat, mastery of the language, good friends, loving church family.  How do they do all the things I do but in a foreign place?  

How do they lay their lives down in front of you so completely on a daily basis?  

My life seems so small and safe in comparison with theirs.  I have so much admiration.

I suppose that if you feel called, compelled to go, then you give them a different set of longings, Lord, is that it?  People you call to do something so dramatic, so consuming; you must wire them differently from the way you've wired me. 

The other day I was doing the Spiritual MOT and one of the questions was, 'What is the most frightening thing that God could ask you to do?' and I was dithering about an answer and being facetious about it.  I eventually came down on the side of 'street evangelism' as someone suggested to me, but I think going to a far away land to live, not on holiday, not coming back after a couple of weeks with dirty washing and a bag of souvenirs - actually going to live, to become part of the culture, to embrace a different way of living while living a godly life under scrutiny, bringing up my children and sharing my faith with people perhaps reluctant to hear it, perhaps even living in danger - that's truly frightening.

But the people in church this morning do it.  They did it, and they keep on doing it.  And now and again they come back to the UK to tell everyone about what they do and to fill people like me with admiration and awe.

How complete their dependence on you. Someone leaves behind all that's safe and familiar and comfortable and they go somewhere unfamiliar and scary and perhaps not so safe - they must see very clearly that you're close by. 

They must have such faith.

You said to the fishermen 'Follow me' and they followed you.  They followed you through good times and bad, and many of them followed you even though it meant suffering and death. 

They left everything that they had and didn't look back.  Well, maybe they did look back, I don't know, but what I'm saying is just look what can be achieved when someone gives you their heart. 

I know that you call us to different things.  I know that we can't all be missionaries in far flung lands, and to be honest, I'm glad.  I don't want to be one, and I'd rather you didn't ask me to, if it's all the same to you.  I know that you have a plan for me, and as I sit here and chat with you and squirm a little as I realise my own half heartedness I thank you that you love me, not-a-missionary (not in quite the same way, anyway - maybe we're all called to be missionaries, but you know what I mean) and you have a plan for me. A plan for my life that's just as meaningful, if not quite so dramatic.

Maybe some people do big things for you, Lord, and some do little things.  Maybe some people's calling is visible and in others it's more subtle.  Maybe some people spend a lifetime wondering what it is they're meant to do, and others see it straight away.  

There are the street evangelists, and those for whom the streets that they evangelise are in a different continent.  Some people make speeches, write books, get themselves on the telly, and others are behind the scenes, alongside; the listeners, the encouragers, the builders, the planners.  I am so thankful that whatever the plan you have for me, it's a plan that fits the way I'm made. 

I thank you that the lovely family I met this morning have such wonderful gifts and an open willingness to do your work. People that give you their lives like this inspire me.  Keep them safe, Lord, and give them everything they need to do this wonderful thing for your kingdom. 

I want to do the same thing, something, in my little corner of the world.  I don't know what you're asking yet, but I trust you.   

If we're all part of the Body of Christ, then we each have a different function in your family.  They might be the eyes, seeing those who need to hear about you.  Or the mouth, to tell people the Good News. Or the feet, to take your Word to the back of beyond.  As you know, I can carry a metaphor quite a long way when I try.  What am I?  I'd like to know how I fit in, but I trust you that you'll let me know in your good time.  

You know where I am.  

Meanwhile, I'm loving seeing how other people fit in your amazing three dimensional, eternal, endlessly complex and beautiful jigsaw. 

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