Sometimes God Says ‘Go.’ And Sometimes ‘Stay.’

The Gospel Coalition | 8/10/2018 | Staff
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When our friends’ long hours of work finally rewarded them with a pile of paid-off college loans, they perched on the edge of the American Dream. A nicer neighborhood beckoned, one with better schools. But, as Dietrich Bonhoeffer famously observed, “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” To everyone’s amazement, our friends sold their house and headed to Africa. They count the cost in frequent flyer miles.

As it turns out, “convenient” isn’t Jesus’s specialty:

Relationships - Finances - Proximity - Family - Health

Following him may cost our relationships, our finances, our proximity to family, or our health. And, whatever else we sacrifice, part of the cost of discipleship is geographic.

Should I Stay or Go?

Story - God-followers - Story - Tents - Sandals

The story of God-followers has always been a story of tents and sandals. We steep in it—the record of sojourners striking out, a homesick people, a homeless King.

We read to our little ones of Abram: “Now the LORD said to Abram, ‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you’” (Gen. 12:1). We laugh at Peter, leaping pell-mell out of the boat. We read of Paul the apostle—envoy of the gospel.

Jesus—Jesus - Nazareth - Country - Dirt - Stories

And then we read of Jesus—Jesus of Nazareth, who never traveled beyond his country, who knelt in the dirt and told stories about patient farmers, slow harvest, long seasons. We who would follow him live in the inherent tension between the biblical value of faithful rootedness and the equally biblical mandate to “go and make disciples” (Matt. 28:19).

Am I called to be nimble, leaping Peter-like for the sake of the gospel, or am I called to be rooted, attentive to place, patient? Flinging ourselves into the unknown to follow Christ certainly strengthens faith, but the endurance required to stay put produces sanctification (James 1:5).

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God is always moving us closer to Christ—from fear...
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