Before you begin:
Here in the last verses of Matthew, Jesus is breaking it down for the disciples: in order to win, you first have to lose. In order to live, you first have to die. If you want to gain -- if you want to move forward, you first have to let go.
What I Took Away:
Here was a thought I had in regard to burdens weighing me down, and the need for me to let them go -- the desperate need for me to let my old self and my old experiences die so that I can live fully and freely in Him: there is nothing that I have done, or that I have been through, that Jesus would refuse to carry for me. When I pick up my cross to follow Him, He gets right there underneath it with me and says, "Here, let me take that."
But as I reread this right now: 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? I sense that this is what God wanted me to "take home" tonight:
There are people with too little, there are people with just enough, and there are people with too much (Matthew 19:24).
In the past (almost) three years as an American missionary in Europe, I've learned that the two words 'missionary' and 'Europe' don't tend to "wash" well together (especially when you're living off of donated funds). I understand the need for love and care everywhere. I understand the need for freedom and safety and materials and food and water and everything, everywhere. But aren't we missing something when we assume that people in first-world countries don't also need some sort of love and care -- and even resources?
"As for me and my house", if God clearly calls us to a third-world country, or back to America, we will go. But for now and the foreseeable future, He's called us here to Vienna. And who are we to say no to God? Who are we to say to Him that Europe is a less-worthy continent, Austria is a less-worthy country, or Vienna is a less-worthy city of the Good News than anywhere else He may send us? Who are we to tell Him that we know better than Him where we're needed?
We're not all made to do the same thing. Can we agree on that? And just like we're not all made to do the same thing, the Gospel isn't meant to be shared in one particular way, in one land, to one generation, to one "category" of person. The Gospel is for all of us.
You are worthy of your calling, whatever it may be. And so am I.
I don't want to be that person who's gained the whole world because I refused to listen to God's call. There are choices that we could make, places we could go, and people we could run to that would make our lives a million times easier. We'd gain the whole world! But we'd be ignoring God. We'd be disobeying Him. And what good is that?