“… he said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone you, and are you going there again?” (John 11:7-8)
When we have decisions in life we are taught to weigh out the pros and cons before deciding what to do. When Jesus told the disciples they were going back to Judea, they weighed put the pros and cons and questioned Jesus’ instructions. They were more concerned with the dangers of Judea rather than fulfilling the mission ahead.
When I coached baseball, I was the 1st base coach. It was up to me to watch the pitcher and catcher and determine if it was safe to steal 2nd base. My instruction to the runner was to listen for my word to go. I wasn’t going to yell because I didn’t want to tip off the other team. I was simply going to say, “Go” and when you hear it, take off running. I know your abilities. Don’t hesitate or question the decision but trust in me and go.
Our responsibility as Christ followers is to listen for God’s instruction. When we hear Him tell us to go, we are not to weigh out the pros and cons, we simply trust His wisdom and we go. Don’t worry about whether we have the ability to do what He tells us to do. Go with all we have and leave the results up to Him. In June of 2013 I was presented with an opportunity to “Go”. I began to weigh out whether or not this was the right thing to do for my family. Was this my desire or was this God’s plan? After all, I had been praying for God to show us more of Him. Was this the answer to that prayer?
One Sunday morning I was teaching my class of Juniors a lesson about obedience and listening to God’s voice. I was using the example of being the runner on 1st base listening for my word and then running with all they had in the direction I sent them. In that moment, in my spirit, I heard God say, “Go”. Suddenly, my eyes began to well up with tears as I realized God was using my own life lesson to validate His call. Later that day I sent a message to my company and said yes to the opportunity.
Saying, “Yes” to that opportunity led to a new chapter in the life of our family. Many challenges and changes would come our way but so would much growth and closeness to God. Was it scary? Yes. Did we have troubles along the way? Yes. Was there friction? Yes. Was it rewarding? Absolutely! We put our “Yes” on the table and followed God to a new state, a new church, new schools, new jobs, and new friends. God had given me a promotion, more money, more influence, and a big beautiful home, and a new group of students to teach. This seems like it was a great answer to our Prayer for God to show us more of Him. However, this was only a partial answer to that prayer.
Here’s the thing; if you really want to see more of God, you have to give Him more of you. Five years later we began to feel God asking for more of us. I felt like God would one day call us to full time ministry, not necessarily as a Pastor but certainly in ministry at some capacity. My son asked me when I thought God would do that and my response was, “When I get comfortable where I am”.
I couldn’t know just how right I was or that the move from Georgia to Tennessee was more than an answer to our prayer, it was training for the next step of obedience. Only this time we weren’t simply running from 1st to 2nd base. This time felt like we were standing on 3rd base and being asked to steal home while the pitcher was watching. This time we would be asked to sell the home, leave our jobs, leave our friends and family and move across the country to Southern California. Never in my life or my plans did Southern California ever come up. That was the last place we would have decided to live but this was exactly where God was calling us to “Go”.
Through much prayer, searching scripture, and through friends and family, God would affirm this was indeed our next step. The next step is required of all Christians. Christianity, after all, is a movement. All through scripture we see God moving His people. In the Old Testament, He literally moved them from one land to another. In the New Testament, He tells us to “Go and make disciples of all nations”. The only times He tells His people to stand still is when we are backing up. Roots are great. Foundations are necessary to build. As Christians, we are to be rooted and grounded in love. The foundation that we build our lives on is the Gospel of Jesus. Our cornerstone is Him.
You may never be called to move to another city, another state, or another country but I assure you, God will call you to step into the uncomfortable. You will be called to step out in faith and get in the game. There are no benchwarmers on God’s team. Everyone is called to get in the game. There are two steps in the Christian faith, the first step and the next step. The first step requires surrender. The next step always requires obedience. The first step gets you on the field, on 1st base. The next step is when you step off of the base, take a lead, and listen for God to say, “Go”. The question is will you hesitate or will you trust Him and run with all you have in the direction God sends you?