Tom Petty was on to something. My wife and I have been fasting and praying about selling everything to follow Jesus without the bounds of debt. We’ve been excited to serve Jesus in this new way, and have begun talking and dreaming about how life will look without debt, what we could do with the kids, how we could be free to serve the Church and the community. We would love to travel, see family more, give more, and have more time to worship/pray/minister to others.
As we have been doing what we can to prepare to sell, it’s becoming apparent that God is trying to teach us some things in this process. There is work to be done and things to learn before we sell and leave. It’s kind of depressing. I want to just abandon everything instantly and get on with it. But, that’s what I want. God is doing different things in the ‘waiting’ though. He’s teaching us about His love for community, His desire for His Body/Bride, and breaking our hearts with love for our neighbors. He wants us to reach them before we leave.
17 Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, 18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. 19 The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.
I literally was presented with this verse 3 times in 1 day this past week. It’s as if God is testing us to rely on Him during this time. Will we trust in His plan when things don’t appear to be going the way we thought? My thoughts have basically been like this: “Jesus, we want to sell all for you. We want to serve You. Why aren’t You helping us fix this house to sell it? Why did you bring 2 other families to live with us right as we are trying to sell? That makes no sense!” [If you didn’t hear, we’ve had 7 adults, 1 teen, and 7 kids live with us for the past little bit…]
Do you Trust me?
The basic pain and wonder in my heart is: “Jesus, don’t you notice me? Don’t you notice that I’m trying to serve You? Don’t you care about the ways I’m trying to love You? Why aren’t You doing what I thought You would?”
I’m guilty of putting my plans ahead of His pace again. He’s working things out in me and my family that need to be done. The position of our house being sold or not is really insignificant compared to His Glory and staying near His heart. He is teaching me so much through our roomies about loving others and true evangelism. I need to be patient and learn what He is trying to teach me, and not ‘kick against the goads’ as He told Saul [Acts 26]. I get in trouble when I assume I understand what He’s doing in my life. I’ve discovered in my walk with Him that things make a lot of sense in hindsight, but I get frustrated when I assume God’s plan too much.
Some things He’s teaching me through our roomies:
- Evangelism is really about love. It’s not about fulfilling a duty. If I preach out obligation, people can tell that I really don’t love them and are far less receptive.
- The Holy Spirit will ‘mark’ people for me to talk to. My job is to be persistent in waiting for His leading, and obedient when it comes.
- There is extreme joy in sharing my faith. The reward is mine and it is awesome. As I share Christ’s love and my testimony with others, His Love and Grace really do fill my heart. As His Love and Grace fill my heart, I want to share and testify more. It’s a cyclical relationship.
- Prayer and worship are the foundation to anything worth-while. Evangelism without prayer and worship is like trying to plant a garden without tilling the soil.
- Jesus does it all. When I try to ‘do it’, it back fires.
I’ve got some really cool testimonies about how God is training me to see and love people over the past week [testimonies from Target, parks, schools, apartments, He’s marking people for me!]. I won’t share them now, but I just want to say that God really does ‘mark’ people for us to talk to everyday if we’re looking for them. When we respond in obedience, our reward is His joy. It’s contagious. Sharing the Love of Jesus is contagious. Pass it on.