What do these three things have in common? They are all settled but can all be uprooted when commanded to. Yes, if you consider yourself as part of God’s people, then you must be willing to relocate at (God’s) will, just like the command center or Treant does when the Player clicks them.
40 Now the length of time the Israelite people lived in Egypt[a] was 430 years. 41 At the end of the 430 years, to the very day, all the LORD’s divisions left Egypt. 42 Because the LORD kept vigil that night to bring them out of Egypt, on this night all the Israelites are to keep vigil to honor the LORD for the generations to come. –Exodus 12:40-42
After 430 years of residing in Egypt, and during the latter part, as slaves, God’s people, the Israelite, were finally instructed to to get up and find themselves a new home – to become an independent nation. Though many plagues came as precursors to the Exodus, in a way, it was still done in haste, as reflected by one of the most prominent symbols in both Judaism and Christianity: unleavened bread. The Israelites were to evacuate immediately, that they shouldn’t even bother about waiting for the yeast to make their bread soft and fluffy.
Among the multifaceted significance of the Passover is the fact that God can command his people go to certain places and leave certain lifestyles, for the completion of His plan and for His Name’s sake.
16 As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 17 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 18 At once they left their nets and followed him.
19 When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. 20 Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.-Mark 1:16-20
Out of nowhere, the Lord Jesus comes and calls some fishermen to follow him. Immediately, they left their current preoccupations and followed Jesus wherever He went. At the drop of a hat, and without question, these people again left their current way of living to follow God.
Modern day followers of Jesus are not exempt from these divine commands that require immediate action. To anyone would come to the Lord Jesus, there is the very first command, that of repentance:“Go now and leave your life of sin.” -John 8:11c
For those who have decided to follow Him, he gives another command:
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, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. –Matthew 28:19-20a
For each individual believer or would be believer, following Christ may mean different things. The rich young ruler was told to give away all his riches. Saul had to give up his status as a Pharisee. Zacchaeus had to find another profession. The real issue here, actually, is an issue of the heart. Can we give up anything that God will ask us to, at the drop of a hat?
The longer we stay in a certain place, the more we get “attached”. We become closer to the people, absorb the culture, and learn to like its idiosycracies and peculiarities. In the end, we could become all too comfortable where we are, to be content with our current friendships, level of maturity – our current lifestyle, in general. Yet as we have seen, God may call us to abandon certain things, to go to certain places, meet certain people, and live a certain (and usually, entirely different) lifestyle. Again, the question is, are we gearing our lives and our attitudes to be able to readily respond to God’s call?
Let me give a tangible example. Most of the people today would say that they prefer owning a house rather than renting one. There is nothing intrinsically bad about this. Two well respected pastors I know, however, are advocates of renting rather than owning, for the same reason: it will be easier for them to go and live wherever God wants them to (location wise). Their argument is not from a financial point of view, (though I could argue about the financial pros of renting, but that’s another story) but rather but from eternal one. Simply stated, they knew that the nature of their work and ministry required them to be fluid and flexible, and that owning property might otherwise tie them down, both in terms of mortgage payment, and the fact that it is not easy to “dispose” of a house-and-lot.
- What things are you so attached to that it wouldn’t be as easy to let go, even if God asked you to?
- In the light of eternity, is it really worth keeping that attachment?
- How should the fact that Christians are not permanent residents on earth affect the way we think and live our everyday lives and make our long-term plans?