By Allen White
Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it. Matthew 10:37-39
When I was seven-years-old, I trooped off on the old church bus. A “new church bus” would somehow be an oxymoron. We were headed to Wheatstate Camp just east of Wichita, Kansas. Hot, desolate, barren, did I say hot? This is where young people in our church went to meet with God, because frankly there was nothing else there.
I was excited. It was the first time away from my parents. As a rising second grader (I had a late birthday and no I wasn’t held back), this was a big adventure. We bunked in cabins with a dozen or so other boys and a counselor who probably wasn’t much older than us. This was church camp.
We made crafts. We watched puppet shows. We swam, though separately from the girls, for mixed bathing was sin. We worshipped. We bought treats from the snack bar. And, when it got really hot, we ate salt tablets.
Everything was new and exciting. I practically forgot I had a family until Wednesday night. I woke up in the middle of the night not feeling good and wanting my mom. None of the other campers knew it, but I had broken into a full-fledged case of homesickness. That had never happened to me before or since. I made it through that night, and I was, well, a happy camper for the rest of the week.
Jesus gave His disciples a lot of instructions against pining for home. While longing for home certainly wasn’t disloyal, it would take them off mission. When things got hard, the disciples would be tempted to go to their happy place, even if it wasn’t so happy.
Just like a hot cup of coffee loses heat in the cold air, the passion for a mission can soon become a lukewarm, disgusting mess. If things get bad on the road, then certainly they would be longing for home. The pull of comfort would draw them away from God’s plan for their lives.
Jesus challenged them to take up their cross before He took up His. People carrying crosses have nothing left. It’s their last day on this earth. What have they got to lose?
But, here’s the catch – those who cling to their lives, their goals, their expectations will lose it all. Those who choose to give these things away will find abundant life. We can choose to pad our nests with more stuff or we can give our stuff away to gain something we cannot buy.
What is Jesus’ mission for your life? His mission for all of us is to go and make disciples (Matthew 28:18-20). But, what has God made you to do? What is your unique contribution?
Now a hard question – what do you love more than Jesus? Comfort and security? Control and ambition? Other people? What is keeping you from the life God meant for you to have?
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