Archive for June, 2015

Going and Blessing

June 28, 2015

I have been rooted here in San Diego for the last 8 years. These years have been a tremendous blessing to me. I moved here when my youngest son was leaving home to go to college and a new season began in our lives. I have watched my boys become men and find their way in life. I have met so many wonderful people. I have built some great relationships and established lifelong friendships. I have wept with people, cried with people, and rejoiced with people. I have discovered America’s Finest City, enjoyed the beaches, the waterfront, the scenery, the attractions, and the weather. What’s not to like? God has brought so many opportunities my way and blessed me beyond what I thought was possible. I have received privileges I did not deserve. Grace upon grace abounds. I have learned a lot, grown in my faith, and been stretched in painful yet important ways. I see the world differently now. My perspective has changed. Jesus has continued to mold and shape me. My love for my wife has grown and she has made me a better person. I have worked through difficult relationships and seen healing take place. The Holy Spirit continues to surprise me with experiences he has brought my way. I have been humbled and made stronger because of that. I am truly blessed.

Now, my wife and I have discerned that God is leading us to a new place in our lives. This new place is actually an old place. A door has opened for us to move back home to Terre Haute, Indiana, and we are going to walk through it. It’s a place that we know, with friends and family we love, and surroundings that are familiar. And yet it’s a place we have to re-discover with new relationships to build and new people we will get to meet. Like any big move, it is both scary and exciting at the same time. I believe God calls us to take risks. I believe God calls us to take steps of faith when we don’t know how things are going to turn out. I believe God calls us to trust in Him when we don’t have all the answers. This is not always easy, but it can always be good.

This reminds me of Genesis 12:1 -3, one of the pivotal texts of scripture. “The Lord said to Abraham, ‘Go from your country, your people, and your father’s household to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you. I will make your name great and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you and whoever curses you I will curse, and all people on earth will be blessed through you.’”

This text shows us that following God is about Going and Blessing. God calls us to Go into the world. Often this means leaving something behind. When you go on a journey, you can’t take everything with you. You can’t take everyone with you. You have to leave some things behind. God called Abraham to leave his sense of security behind – his country, his people, his household – not even knowing where he was going. It was a journey into uncertainty. It was leaving the known for the unknown – stepping out in faith. God promised to show Abraham where he was going when he got there, but not before.

Going is not easy. Going involves sacrificing one thing for another thing. We can’t have it all. Often, God calls us to give up something really, really good for something that might be even better. Who knew? Do we really trust that God will do that? Jesus calls disciples in the New Testament to follow Him. He commissions us to Go into the world and make disciples of all peoples. Following Jesus is not meant to be a static way of life. It is not meant to be stable or stuck. It is meant to be dynamic, in motion, going somewhere, becoming someone, doing something. It does not stand still. It is not a paralyzed life. It is a journey. It is an adventure. It is the road less travelled.

Genesis 12:1-3 is also about Blessing. This is mentioned five times in three verses: I will bless you, you will be a blessing, I will bless those who bless you, and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you. God’s desire is to bless every one of us. God loves us and God wants to add blessings to our lives. Jesus said he came that we might have life and have it more abundantly. Paul says that God can do immeasurably more than we could ever ask or think. God blesses us. But God does not bless us just so that we can be blessed. God blesses us so that we can be a blessing to others. We have been saved to serve. We are called to give our lives away, to invest in our communities, to move back into our neighborhoods, and to share the blessings of the Spirit with others. We are called to love our neighbors. We are even called to love our enemies. We are called to bless those who curse us and show love to those who mistreat us. We are called to make a difference in the world by sharing the blessings we have received from God with others.

Following Jesus is about Going and Blessing. My wife and I are getting ready to turn another page in the book of our lives, and we will be going and blessing in a new way. We will be moving to a new place which is really an old place. We will be moving into some old relationships and into some new relationships. We will be moving into new responsibilities and new experiences. We are going in order to bless. We go with the hope that God might bless others through us. We go with the hope that God might bless the community through us. We go with the hope that we can join with others in going into the world to bless it with good news. This is not a surprise. This is what following is Jesus is all about.